Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police arrest six men linked to neo-Nazi group in Germany




Police arrest six men linked to neo-Nazi group in Germany

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Policemen escort a suspected right-wing terrorist after arriving at the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe, southern of Germany, on Monday. CHRISTOPH SCHMIDT/AFP

Police arrest six men linked to neo-Nazi group in Germany

GERMAN police on Monday arrested six men on suspicion of belonging to a far-right “terrorist” group that attacked foreigners in the city of Chemnitz.

The German nationals, aged 20 to 31, were taken into custody for allegedly forming a group called “Revolution Chemnitz” with the aim of subverting the democratic state.

“To this end, they intended to launch violent and armed attacks against foreigners and people who have different political views,” said federal prosecutors in a statement.

Their targets included representatives of different political parties as well as members of the economic establishment, the prosecutors said.

They added that the group appeared to have been planning an assault on Germany’s Unity Day, which falls on Wednesday.

“They wanted to change the country,” investigators told Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

Citing intercepted chats and telephone calls, SZ reported that the men “wanted to achieve more than the National Socialist Underground” or NSU, a neo-Nazi extremist group uncovered in 2011 that murdered 10 people and planted three bombs.

As well as politicians, the group wanted to attack journalists, who they referred to as “the media dictatorship and its slaves”, the newspaper added.

‘Uncomfortable spotlight’

The arrests once again cast an uncomfortable spotlight on extremism in Saxony state, where Chemnitz is located and which is a stronghold of the far-right party AfD.

Investigators are still trying to determine if the suspects were involved in the wave of xenophobic marches that swept Chemnitz at the end of August following a fatal stabbing, allegedly by an asylum seeker.

But prosecutors said that on September 14 five of the suspects “armed with glass bottles, weighted knuckle gloves, and an electroshock appliance, attacked and hurt several foreign residents” in Chemnitz.

“Investigations show that the assault was a test-run for an event that one of the accused planned for October 3, 2018,” said prosecutors.

More than 100 police officers were deployed to search apartments and other premises.

“With the arrests and raids, we are sending a clear signal that we are identifying and breaking up such right-wing terrorist structures early,” said Saxony Interior Minister Roland Woeller.

Germany’s Justice Minister Katarina Barley highlighted the suspects’ links to the football hooligan, skinhead and neo-Nazi scenes and warned that “the network under investigation does not stand in isolation”.

At least one of the men, Tom W, was convicted 10 years ago over his role as a leader of a violent 50-strong far-right group known as “Sturm 34” that was ultimately banned, SZ reported.

Deep resentment

Saxony, a former communist state, has gained notoriety as the home base of several extremist groups.

Eight members of a far-right outfit called the Freital group were jailed in March on terrorism and attempted murder charges for a series of explosions targeting refugees and anti-fascist activists.

Members of the NSU, responsible for several racist killings, also evaded police for years in Chemnitz and another Saxony town, Zwickau.

Most recently, Chemnitz has been polarised over the question of migrants since 35-year-old carpenter Daniel Hille was stabbed to death on August 26.

Police probing that killing have detained a Syrian man, Alaa S, 23, while an international warrant has been issued for an Iraqi.

In the hours after the stabbing, thousands of people took to the streets in protest, answering calls by far-right party AfD and nationalist group PEGIDA, which campaigns against what it calls the Islamisation of the West.

Police found themselves overwhelmed by the swift mobilisation of the region’s football hooligans and right-wing extremists.

August’s week of xenophobic protests in Chemnitz deeply shocked Germany, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to urge Germans to stand up against the far right.

Merkel is due to visit Chemnitz in November, but she faces a cold reception. Resentment runs deep over her liberal refugee policy that led to the arrival of millions of asylum seekers in Germany since 2015.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from