Police raided a large-scale illegal cigarette factory in the Liberec region
at the weekend and detained a foreign national allegedly running it on
charges of tax evasion.
A spokesman for a special police unit for fighting organized crime (NCOZ) said agents had seized nine tons of raw tobacco in addition to equipment.
The accused planned to import machinery and several tons of raw tobacco to expand the illegal cigarette production line, NCOZ spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said.
Young Czechs remain at the top of the European ladder in the use of soft or party drugs, with marihuana being the most commonly used substance. However it is the illegal production of methamphetamine that remains the most pressing problem in fight against drug abuse, both for the Czech Republic and neighbour states.
Two Czechs serving six-year jail terms in Turkey for cooperating with the
Syrian Kurd militia YPG are in a good state, Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský,
who visited them last week, told the Czech News Agency. Diplomats from the
two countries are discussing the conditions and situations of Markéta
Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas.
The pair were arrested on the border between Turkey and Iraq in November 2016 after Turkish officers found materials on them that they said proved the pair were involved with the YPG, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation. They are in prisons in different parts of Turkey.
A 38-year-old Czech woman was killed in a shooting incident in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday. She and a Swiss woman of 34 were kidnapped by a Swiss man, aged 60, who threatened to kill them. When police managed to enter the apartment where the incident was taking place they found all three people dead. A Swiss news website said that the Swiss woman had been romantically involved with the man; when she left him, she had moved in with the Czech woman, who worked as a carer.
The TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents parties have proposed that the
government be stripped of its right to remove a supreme state attorney
without giving a reason, iRozhlas.cz reported. The Czech Pirate Party are
preparing their own amendment to that effect and have convened a
cross-party discussion of the matter that will be attended by Minister of
Justice Marie Benešová, the news site said.
The opposition groupings have made the call following Ms. Benešová’s instalment as minister, which they regard as being connected to the police’s proposal that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who appointed her, go on trial for EU subsidy fraud.
The third in a sequence of public protests against the change of justice minister is planned for Prague and other cities on Monday evening. The organisers are demanding Ms. Benešová’s removal and guarantees that Pavel Zeman will not be replaced as supreme state attorney.
Former Social Democratic Party deputy Petr Wolf, who has been on the run
since 2013, when he was convicted of subsidy fraud, is hiding in Paraguay,
Czech Television reported citing police sources.
The police reportedly lost trace of him in Paraguay. Although an international arrest warrant has been issued on him, Wolf has so far avoided detention.
The million crown fine meted out by the court was paid in instalments from different destinations, even while the former MP was on the run.
The country’s chief state attorney, Pavel Zeman, has ruled out the
possibility that in the Czech Republic it is possible to order a criminal
prosecution against someone.
He said the allegations made by the newly-appointed justice minister, Marie Benešova, were untrue, saying there were no grounds for such accusations, which undermined public trust in the judiciary.
Justice Minister Benešova claims the opposite, and moreover made the allegations in a report to President Zeman at a time when she was acting as his chief legal advisor.
The document has not been made public, but the minister was called on to clarify her claims before the lower house during the ministerial question-and-answer session on Thursday.
Two prisoners who went on the run turned themselves in to the police for
unlikely sounding reasons, iDnes.cz reported. One of the two said he was
unfamiliar with the South Moravia Region he had escaped to and moreover had
uncomfortable shoes. The other called a police helpline after being beaten
The pair, who were aged 23 and 33 and had been convicted of theft, fled from an unguarded workplace in Prague at the end of last month.
Thousands again took to the streets of Prague, Brno and other cities on
Monday to protest against the appointment of a new justice minister shortly
after police proposed pressing charges of EU subsidy fraud against Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš.
It was the second street protest called by the group A Million Moments for Democracy, which believe Marie Benešová was named justice minister in an attempt to thwart justice.
Mr Babiš and several of his family members are suspected of having illegally tapped into a 50 million crown EU subsidy a decade ago in what has come to be known as the Stork’s Nest affair.
If stripped of his immunity, tried and found guilty, Mr Babiš could face a prison sentence of between five and 10 years.
The majority of the methamphetamine seized by the Czech police last year was produced by Vietnamese crime gangs. Indeed, almost 70 percent of the illegal drug impounded last year was Vietnamese- produced. Police say cultural differences and the language barrier make it harder to combat these activities.
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