Security authorities are growing increasingly concerned by the rising number of sex attacks by gangs of migrants which appear to be spreading across Europe.
Finland and Sweden today became the latest European countries to issue warnings to women to be wary of the threat of sex attacks following fresh reports of sexual assaults in the last week, while the Viennese police chief adviced women not to go outside alone in Vienna.
The warnings come as reports emerged that Austrian and German police tried to cover-up the issue over fears of reprisal attacks on asylum seekers and damage to the countries’ tourist trade.
Dozens of arrests have been made today in connection with the wave of recent sex attacks across Europe.
Finnish police said today that they had been tipped off about plans by groups of asylum seekers to sexually harass women following an unusually high level of sexual harassment cases in Helsinki.
‘There hasn’t been this kind of harassment on previous New Year’s Eves or other occasions for that matter… This is a completely new phenomenon in Helsinki,’ said deputy police chief Ilkka Koskimaki.
Police in Germany are investigating more than 150 cases across five German cities where women have been attacked by the ‘organised Arab or North African gangs, police said.
Cologne has been at the centre of the problem with around 106 reported cases of assault by migrant gangs since New Year’s Eve.
Following criticism of the police’s handling of the violent clashes in Cologne, the police chief of Cologne has been relieved of his duties today.
Police chief Wolfgang Albers, 60, was informed by the state interior minister Ralf Jaeger that he would be given early retirement, a source told Reuters.
A chilling police report about the attacks in Cologne describes women being forced to run through a ‘gauntlet’ of drunken men while officers themselves were mobbed by victims claiming they had been sexually assaulted.
Two more victims from the night have spoken out today on German TV, after they were sexually assaulted and attacked with fireworks during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
One woman, known only as Jenny, suffered serious burns when a firework was shoved into the hood she was wearing.
‘I heard a sizzling sound in my hood,’ said Jenny. ‘I somehow tried to get the firecracker out of the hood. Then it fell into my jacket and burned everything.’
She added: ‘The scars will be permanent. I was lucky that it didn’t explode.’
One German gun-shop owner Katja Triebel revealed that sales in pepper spray had shot up since the vile attacks in Cologne.
Concerns remain that many of the men involved in the sickening assaults are still at large despite the best efforts by the police.
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