Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

23-10-2003

Czech, Austrian police arrest gang of human traffickers

Austrian and Czech police on Thursday announced mass arrests of human traffickers on both sides of the border. In coordinated raids with Czech police, 28 suspects were arrested on Wednesday, 12 in Austria and 16 in the Czech Republic. Another 15 people had been detained earlier. Those arrested include Moldavians, Romanians, Armenians, Poles, Russians and Czechs. The migrants had to pay the traffickers up to 1,000 euros merely to be smuggled from Austria to another EU country. This year alone, the group reportedly shipped some 4,000 people, mainly Chechens, to Austria.

Servicemen denied minimum wage

A Prague district court has ruled that the Czech Army will not have to pay more money to soldiers on compulsory military service. The court dismissed the lawsuit through which some servicemen demanded to be paid the minimum wage, now standing at 6,200 crowns. The soldiers consider their salary as discriminatory against the salaries of other civil servants. Judge Vladimir Hosana and a representative of the Defence Ministry agreed that the soldiers' pay of 500-750 crowns did not clash with valid legislation. The plaintiffs are planning to appeal and lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Court. They argued by citing the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which guarantees every person the right to dignified life.

Six men who threatened TV reporter remanded in custody

The six men charged with threatening Czech Television reporter Jiri Hynek have been remanded in custody. Police say the plan was masterminded by the director of the Fytoz company, Stanislav Ohem, who along with his partner in the firm hired three other men to physically attack Mr Hynek and offered to pay them 250,000 crowns. The men allegedly threatened Mr Hynek they would break his arms and legs if he did not stop investigating and reporting on the activities of the Fytoz company. Another man has also been charged with inspiring criminal acts, for allegedly advising the men on how to make the threats. In a report broadcast this summer on Czech Television, Mr Hynek stated that the police had investigated the company's management on suspicions of importing a cheap weed-killing chemical from Russia, labelling it as an American product and selling it for a higher price.

Court adjourns Kinsky's claim for hunting lodge

The Decin District Court on Thursday adjourned the case of the claim raised by Frantisek Oldrich Kinsky, a descendant of the noble Kinsky family, for a hunting lodge near Ceska Kamenice, north Bohemia. Mr Kinsky wants the hunting lodge to be returned to him from entrepreneur Leo Lappy, who had, however, sold the property to a third party last year. Mr Kinsky has submitted over 150 lawsuits in the Czech Republic to regain his family's extensive property, which was confiscated after the Second World War by the Czechoslovak state according to the Benes decrees, on the grounds that Mr Kinsky's father had collaborated with the Nazis. However, Mr Kinsky maintains he, not his father, was the owner of the property. Mr Kinsky has already won five disputes but has lost two.

Weather

Friday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast, with occasional rain. Daytime temperatures should range from plus 1 to plus 7 degrees Celsius.

23-10-2003