German police have found that a wave of sexual assaults and robberies on New Year’s Eve did not only happen in Cologne, but that similar incidents also took place in 12 of Germany’s regional states, local media reported on Saturday.
Hundreds of women have reported they were groped and robbed by mainly North African suspects outside Cologne’s main train station where crowds had gathered to ring in the new year.
However, similar assaults also took place that night in 12 of Germany’s 16 regional states, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the Northern German Broadcasting and West German Broadcasting Cologne television stations, citing a report by German judicial police (BKA).
The BKA had no immediate comment on the report.
“The phenomenon of sexual violence, in part linked with robberies, is much greater than we previously thought,” the newspaper said on its Web site, adding that the regional states were affected to different degrees.
The most affected state was North Rhine-Westphalia, which includes the city of Cologne, where 1,000 complaints have been filed, followed by Hamburg with 200.
In other states the number of reported incidents was lower: Hesse (31 complaints); Bavaria (27), Baden-Wurtlemberg (25), Bremen (11) and Berlin (6).
One case was reported in Lower-Saxony, Brandeburg, Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.
Like Cologne, the target of the assaults were women in almost all cases. According to witnesses, the aggressors were often young men of foreign origin, between 17 and 30 years old.
The assaults in Cologne, which police have blamed on young men from North Africa and other Arab nations, have ignited a fierce debate over German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees to Germany, which received 1 million asylum seekers last year.
Aydan Ozoguz, who handles integration issues for the government, on Saturday told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the New Year’s assaults had “poisoned” the atmosphere in Germany.
“Several hundred criminals do not represent a million refugees,” she said.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference