Police in Austria have arrested 31 men as part of a “zero-tolerance” crack-down on banned substances culture but only one of the men is an Austrian citizen.
Fourteen of the men are from Nigeria, 12 are from Afghanistan, three are from Algeria, one is from Pakistan and one was Austrian.
Officers caught 15 of the men at the weekend after suspecting them of dealing banned substances on the streets of Graz. Police said they also confiscated 2,500 euros of drug money when they seized the suspected criminals.
Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka is focusing on developing a ‘Safe Austria’ scheme and said: “In the field of drug-related crime, I believe that a clear zero-tolerance strategy will be developed.” A spokesman for the Interior Ministry warned: “If an asylum seeker is convicted under criminal law, this can lead to them losing their asylum status or being denied asylum. The ministry is also looking to speed up the process of deportation for such cases.”
The criminal complaints against migrants in Austria has soared over the past few years, with interior ministry figures showing that a staggering 42,010 property-related crimes were alleged to have been committed by migrants in 2015. A staggering 23,951 of the charges are alleged to be bodily harm caused by the migrants. In Vienna alone, 960 criminal complaints were made against Afghanis in the city between January and August last year, up from 730 for the whole of 2015.
But Christoph Riedl, an asylum expert for the Diakonie charity, pointed out that the figures could have been influenced by more people reporting crimes rather than more migrants actually committing crimes. He said: “Just because the number of criminal charges has risen, this doesn’t automatically mean that asylum seekers are committing more crimes. “These are figures for criminal complaints and not per capita statistics.” He added: “In order to interpret these figures properly, we need to look at the statistics for the number of convictions.”
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