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CRIME

Hamburg police plan to ban punks from city

Hamburg’s police force has drawn up highly controversial plans to clear the city centre of homeless people, punks and drinkers during shopping hours.

Hamburg police plan to ban punks from city
You can run, but you can't hide. Photo:DPA

An internal memo on the topic has been obtained by the Hamburger Morgenpost, and suggests a ban of such socially marginalised groups to ensure ‘security and cleanliness’ in the shopping area.

It would not matter whether these ‘persons from the marginal scenes’ had done anything illegal, according to the paper. Groups of two or more such people would be enough for a temporary ban from the area until the shops close.

The paper quotes from the memo which says, “It is not acceptable that benches or areas… are claimed and thus are no longer available for the general public.”

It suggests that if two men who look like punks meet up in public, sit on a bench and drink a beer, they could be stopped and thrown out of the inner city until the end of the shopping day.

Apparently not only uniformed, but also plain-clothed police officers would be used in such operations.

Police spokesman Ralf Meyer told the paper, “It is not an offensive against individual homeless people.”

He said the idea was designed to take on a group of up to 50 punks and Goths who gather on the famously snooty Rathausmarkt and Jungfernstieg in the city centre, making a mess, breaking bottles and allowing their dogs to run around.

“We know from our experience that we do not need to wait until they really do anything. We will intervene if individuals from this group sit themselves down there.” He said this had been checked by lawyers.

But the proposal is unlikely to stand, the paper reported, pointing out numerous previous attempts to ban drinking in public, or begging in the city centre.

Sebastian Scheerer, head of the Institute for Criminological Social Research at the city’s university, said the plans constituted an, “obviously illegal criminalisation of certain milieus.”

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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