Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cocaine discovered in car engines from Poland

Customs officers in the port of Gdansk have discovered 33 kilos of pure cocaine in a shipment of second hand engines.

The drugs were hidden in a container on board a freighter arriving from Uruguay on the order of a Polish company. Police traced the consignment to an international drugs ring. Four persons, Poles and Germans, have been arrested so far in connection with the case.

The market value of the intercepted cocaine is estimated at 10 million zloty, roughly 2.3 million euro - the biggest discovered attempt at drug smuggling in Poland this year.

Thanks to joint actions of Customs Service officers and agents of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS) a total of 44 kilograms of cocaine has been seized at various border checkpoints since the beginning of 2009.

Friday, May 29, 2009


KammelgateA famous Polish TV presenter and his fiancée might face trial for wheedling 16 million zlotys out of Pekao S.A. Bank.

Tomasz Kammel, former TVP presenter and his fiancée Katarzyna Niezgoda – who is a former deputy president at Pekao S.A., Poland’s second largest bank - are involved in a major scandal which the press has named ‘Kammelgate’.

The Internal Security Agency, suspecting nepotism, is concerned that a state bank may have lost millions of zloty by Niezgoda giving a large contract for employee training to a company involving her husband, when the Pekao SA could have done the training ‘in-house’.

In April 2009, media revealed that Niezgoda commissioned the “Sparrow” company to carry out training at the Pekao S.A bank, when she was a deputy president. In 2007 the company was co-owned by Niezgoda’s fiancé Tomasz Kammel, who later sold his shares but continued working for the company.

In 2001-2004 Sparrow earned approximately 1 million zlotys (230,000 euros) a year; in 2005, when Kammel and Niezgoda became partners, profits rose to 5,5 million zlotys (1,2 million euros) and after 2005 reached almost 10 million zlotys (2,3 million euros) a year.

The Internal Security Agency which has investigated the case and established that Pekao S.A might have lost 16 million zlotys (3,6 million euros) due to Kammel and Niezgoda. The Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw is to decide whether the former TV presenter and his fiancée will be brought to trial.

As a result of the scandal Katarzyna Niezgoda lost her job at the Pekao S.A. bank and Tomasz Kammel was fired from TVP.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Footballers addicted to gambling

Polish football’s attraction to corruption is only matched by footballers’ addiction to gambling.

“Eighty percent of Polish football players gamble. Half of them visit casinos, the other half gamble on-line,” says Tomasz Hajto, a footballer from Lodz, who played in Germany and England. “Gambling is the main plague of Polish football. Footballers have replaced alcohol with roulette,” confirms Marek Kozminski, a footballer from Krakow, who played in Italy, quoted in the Przeglad Sportowe sports daily.

The game in Poland has been rocked over the past few years with revelations of corruption, with nearly 200 players, officials and coaches being arrested on match fixing charges. But could gambling be as big a problem in the game, resulting in ruined careers, broken families and worse.

Gambling debts were the reason why Slawomir Rutka, from the Korona football team, committed suicide.

Polish footballers are frequent guests at casinos. The members of one of the nation’s top clubs, Wisla Krakow even have their own VIP room in a casino, where they usually celebrate after victories. Football players also love betting and place bets on whatever they can: who will score a goal, how long it will take to reach a destination point, how much a restaurant bill will be. They also place bets on matches at bookmakers, although this is forbidden.

“Sport and gambling give an adrenaline rush. That is why football players in their free time often reach for alcohol, drugs, extreme sports or gambling,” explains psychologist Jacek Sedkiewicz.

To stop footballers from gambling, chairmen and owners of football clubs forbid players to enter casinos. But players find ways around the ban.

Three players from the Amika Wronki football team, banned by the club from gambling in Poznan, Wroclaw and Szczecin, managed to get their fix by travelling 200 km to gamble in Berlin.

Footballers addicted to gambling lose huge amounts of money, and as a result of taking high interest rate loans have enormous gambling debts. Wahan Geworgian, a player from Lodz, lost 130,000 zlotys (30,000 euros) during just one night at the gambling table. Mariusz Nosal from the Odra Wodzislaw club lost all his money and that which he borrowed, divorced his wife, broke ties with his family and fled the country.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Extradition order awaited in Polish national case


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ukraine begs Polish smugglers not to destroy trains

Ukrainian railways are closing down lines to Poland as smugglers keep taking the trains apart to hide the contraband.

The Ukrainian Minister of Transport Josyp Winski has made a dramatic appeal to Ukrainian smugglers, asking them not to destroy another train running to Poland.

“Recently we have put into motion brand new rolling stock but smugglers destroyed it in a week,” complained Winski at a press conference in Lviv.

Smugglers have always been a serious burden for Ukrainian railways. Every day Ukrainians smuggle cigarettes and alcohol into to Poland. In order to hide contraband from customs officers they take trains to pieces, dismantling seats and other fixtures.

Because Ukrainian trains going to Poland have to be constantly renovated, it is not profitable for Ukrainian railways to keep connections open. In 2007 they closed down Lviv to Przemysl line. Now the Lviv to Krakow connection is in danger of being closed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Football corruption scandal continues

The corruption scandal in Polish football continues. Referee Janusz Z. from Opole, southwest Poland, has been arrested by the Central Anticorruption Bureau.

Last week, two other suspects: a former Gornik Polkowice football player, Radoslaw J., from Wroclaw and a First Division player, Marcin S., from Lublin were detained.

The investigation into corruption in Polish football has been underway since May 2005. So far, the Prosecutor’s Office has charged over 200 people: referees, coaches, players, officials and members of the Polish Football Association for fixing matches.

Among the suspects are: a former national team coach Janusz W., a famous referee Grzegorz G., a former football player Dariusz W., a coach Andrzej B. etcetera.

In April 2009 a former chairman of the team Arka Gdynia Jacek Milewski was sentenced to four years in prison and Ryszard Forbrich, alias Fryzjer, a member of the Polish Football Association, to 3,5 years in prison on corruption charges.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Polish teacher stabbed by neo-Nazis

Thomas Lubuskie, 41-one-year-old P.E. teacher from Gorzow Wielkopolski reacted to a group of youths shouting “Seig Heil” on a street corner and as a result was attacked and stabbed in the neck with a knife.

Thomas, a 41-one-year-old P.E. teacher from Gorzow Wielkopolski reacted to a group of youths shouting “Seig Heil” on a street corner and as a result was attacked and stabbed in the neck with a knife.

Telling the group not to shout Nazi slogans, they replied, “Poland’s for the Poles. Hitler would have sorted you out.”

They attacked him, unaware that he was a wrestler of 20 years’ experience and a judo instructor. He quickly dealt with two of his assailants, but while phoning the police the third suddenly attacked him with a knife, stabbing him in the neck before running away.

Bleeding profusely, Thomas made it to hospital where the life-threatening wound was treated. Police soon arrested 26-year-old Zbigniew B. who has been remanded in custody.

Thomas says he isn’t a hero or particularly brave but tackles hooliganism head on because, “…that’s the way I was brought up.” Police are still seeking the other two assailants.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Foul-play suspected in case of MP’s suicide

An inquiry into the suicide of left-wing politician Barbara Blida has taken a new twist following claims from a prosecutor that key documents bearing his signature were forgeries, prompting accusations of political interference in the legal system.
An inquiry into the suicide of left-wing politician Barbara Blida has taken a new twist following claims from a prosecutor that key documents bearing his signature were forgeries, prompting accusations of political interference in the legal system.

Jacek Krawczyk, a former district prosecutor in Katowice, said that two handwritten letters from him ordering an investigation into the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) MP on possible corruption charges had been forged.
Blida shot herself dead in April 2007 while officers from the Internal Security Agency (ABW) searched her flat.

Mr Krawczyk claims that the letters formed part of a witch-hunt against Blida launched by the then PiS (Law and Justice) government, which was frustrated after an initial investigation by him into possible corrupt links between the SLD (Democratic Left Alliance) politician and Barbara Kmiecik, a leading figure in the coal industry, came up blank.

The PiS government had come into power pledging to crack down on corruption, and had a number of SLD politicians, whom they suspected of illegal activity, in their sights. Both Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the prime minister, and his energetic justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, believed that Blida may have been involved in something termed the “coal mafia”.

Providing more detail, Mr Krawczyk said that his superior, Krzysztof Sierak, had also put pressure on him to return to investigating Blida, but he had refused to do so.

“He suggested that I take a look again at the Blida case,” said Mr Krawczyk. “I said I wasn't interested in politics and that I wouldn't participate in the campaign against the left-wing that the Kaczynski brothers and Mr Ziobro had pledged."

The statement also goes against claims by Mr Sierak that at the time of the alleged discussion he knew nothing of the case.

Investigators have passed on the two letters at the centre of the Krawczyk testimony to handwriting experts, and politicians believe that, if confirmed fake, they provide evidence that the then government was using the powers of law and order for political gain.

“If the graphologists confirm the forgery, the key question will be who did it and why,” asked Marek Wojcik, PO (Civic Platform) MP and member of the inquiry committee. “It would be proof that the prosecutors opened the inquiry into the coal mafia with ill intentions - of discrediting the left-wing.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wawrzyniaki admits doping mistake

A B sample test has confirmed that defender and national team representative, Jakub Wawrzyniaki, had been taking banned substances, as indicated by A sample results ealier this week.

Wawrzyniaki, who plays his club football for Panathinaikos Athens, defended himself by saying:

“I have been taking medicine to reduce fatty tissue. I did not know that it has an illicit substance.”

Poland’s national team defender was tested on 5 April after a match between Panathinaikos and Skoda Xanthi in the Greek league. Two weeks earlier, Wawrzyniak was training with Poland’s national squad and on 28 March, he played against Northern Ireland.

It has been alleged that the player doped during the time he was training with the Polish national side as a test done just before he left Athens was negative and after he returned it was positive.

But Wawrzyniak said, that his problem has nothing in common with Poland’s squad. He claimed, that his major mistake was not to consult anyone before taking the medicine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yet another footballer arrested on corruption charges

A former Gornik Polkowice football player, Radoslaw J., has been arrested in Wroclaw in relation with the on-going football corruption scandal.

Yesterday a First Division player, Marcin S., was detained in Lublin

The investigation into corruption in Polish football has been underway since May 2005. So far the Prosecutor’s Office has charged over 200 people: referees, coaches, players, officials and members of the Polish Football Association for fixing matches.

Among the suspects are: a former national team coach Janusz W., a famous referee Grzegorz G., a former football player Dariusz W., a coach Andrzej B. etcetera. In April 2009 a former chairman of the team Arka Gdynia Jacek Milewski was sentenced to four years in prison and Ryszard Forbrich, alias Fryzjer, a member of the Polish Football Association, to 3,5 years in prison on corruption charges.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Court hearing over lack of payment

Statements from the president of Centrum Optyki will be heard in a Bumaru court for the charges of not paying for constuction materials or labor in the building and renovation of the Budowa Warsaw, Prague offices. The charges over the offices, which we completed in September 2008, were filed by PCO and the Warmet construction companies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 man denies helping pal’s suicide

A Tesco employee who died following a “pretend” suicide attempt believed he would be reincarnated, a court heard.

Kamil Borczakat, of Vauxhall Drive, Woodley, died in the Royal Berkshire Hospital in December after the incident in Hurst’s Dinton Pastures Country Park on November 8.

Piotr Mylinski, 27, also of Vauxhall Drive, denies aiding and abetting the 31-year-old’s suicide.

Polish man photogrpahed dying friend

Yesterday at Reading Crown Court DC Sally Russell and Ian Acheson, prosecuting, read police interviews with Mylinski.

The court heard Polish pizza delivery driver Mylinski described his mate of 10 years as “a very, very extraordinary man”. He explained how he was able to swim in ice-cold water, hypnotise people and ride horses. He added he was “a very friendly, calm person”.

During the interviews Mylinski said he agreed to watch, photograph and film his pal ‘hanging’ himself.

The intention was, he said, for Mr Borczakat not to actually kill himself.

Mylinski said: “He asked me if I would go to the woods to make some pictures of him hanging.

“[It was to] make some fun – even if, you know, it was strange fun.”

Mylinski said over the past few years Mr Borczakat’s lifestyle had changed and he had discussed reincarnation and form changing.

He said: “He believed he had been reincarnated on many occasions.

“When he would talk about this [death and reincarnation] I was trying to make it some silly thing. I told him ‘you are joking’.

“[But] I was not taking it so seriously. If I was sure he was going to make suicide I would’ve called for some help. He said he had some rope.”

On the night of the incident Mylinski took photographs and a short film of Mr Borczakat.

He told police that it went wrong.

He attempted CPR on him and called an ambulance.

While he was waiting for the ambulance he said he chucked the rope in the lake and hid the chair in a bush. “I do not know why I did it,” he said.

“Some stupid idea suddenly became a matter of death or life.”

The trial continues.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Drug crop found in bedroom

POLICE in Morecambe have discovered a cannabis factory in a property in the town.
A number of cannabis plants growing in plant pots were found in the back bedroom of the house in Westminster Road. A quantity of dry cannabis and other drug paraphernalia was also found.

All the items were seized by the Neighbourhood Policing Team and a 26-year-old Polish man was arrested and given an adult caution for production of cannabis.

PC Richard Barr, Community Beat Manager at West End Morecambe, said: "This was a significant discovery and, although it was only a relatively small amount of cannabis being cultivated, hails another success in our efforts to reduce all drug activity in the West End.

"We are working tirelessly with different operations in the area in targeting street drug-dealing and any drugs activity in homes in the area.

"This has resulted in a number of successes in recent weeks.

"We would continue to urge any members of the public who suspect drug activity is taking place in their neighbourhood to contact the police."

Anyone with information about suspected drug activity is asked to contact Lancashire Constabulary on 08451 253545 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Polish agent 'may have been kidnapped by a foreign power

Stefan Zielonka, a signals officer with Polish military intelligence, disappeared without trace from his Warsaw flat two weeks ago.

With extensive knowledge of Polish agents working overseas, including their code names and contacts, intelligence officials are concerned that if Zielonka has fallen into the hands of a foreign secret service much of the country's intelligence network could be compromised.

It has also emerged that the head of military intelligence, Radoslaw Kujawa, has been called to appear before a parliamentary intelligence committee to explain why, despite the sensitive nature of Zielonka's position, that no inquiries were made into his disappearance for two weeks.

The newspaper Dziennik quoted a committee member as saying that as Zielonka had been on sick leave officials attributed his failure to turn up for work to continuing sickness, and presumed that he "would just send in another sick note".

Investigators probing the officer's disappearance have refused to rule out the possibility that he may have been the victim of a crime unrelated to his work or that he may have committed suicide.

Newspapers have quoted sources from the secret service saying that Zielonka may have been suffering from depression and had trouble both at home and at the office.

But Poland's defence ministry has remained coy about the subject.

"Please understand me: no comments on this issue," said Bogdan Klich, the defence minister.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More child porn arrests made

Polish police said they arrested 54 people this week in towns across Poland in an attempt to break up child pornography rings.

Several hundred police from across the country raided 60 apartments, houses and offices Tuesday morning and confiscated 84 computers, 32 hard drives, and over 5,000 CDs, DVDs, pen drives, mobile phones and other items containing images of child pornography.

Police spokesman Karol Jakubowski told reporters that the sting operation, coordinated by a special unit for combating human trafficking within the Criminal Bureau of Police Headquarters, had been carried out swiftly so that the suspects would not have time to alert each other.He added that in the case of ten of those arrested, this is a repeat offence.The seized computer disks and other items are now being examined by IT specialists and will be used as evidence in court.

This is the fourth sting operation this year to be carried out against internet pedophilia in Poland.

In February, 78 people were arrested an Operation code-named Typhon. In March, police arrested 56 people in a sting-op called Simone 3, and last month brought yet another 63 arrests for child pornography in operation Cytrus.

Possession and distribution of child pornography can result in a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Polish priest sentenced for persuading to suicide

3.5 years will spend in prison priest Piotr T., former parish priest from Dembnica, who was sentenced by the District Court, for persuading to suicide his teenager altar server. As a result the boy tried to commit suicide on the 16th of May 2006.

The trial started last October is Swupsk . Accused parish priest committed the crime in 2006 in Dembnica. He tried to persuade the altar server to kill himself. The priest took the boy on a trip where he was giving him alcohol, drugs and marihuana. He was seducing the boy and tried to advise him to commit suicide. The priest did not tell anybody about this situation. Teenager came home after several days and told everything his parent and the local police. The prosecutor’s office stared an investigation. As it turned, the priest gave also drugs and alcohol other altar servers.

After teenager’s testimony the bishop of Peplin suspended Piotr T. From ministering to his parish and sent a new priest who revealed missing money (27 thousand zloty what means 6 thousand euro).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Polish band arrested in US

Five members of the Polish dance band Papa D were arrested at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago for misbehaviour on the board of the plane flying from Munich.

Papa D (earlier known as Papa Dance) came to the United States to play concerts for Polish diaspora. The band was arrested last Thursday at the airport in Chicago because the passengers and the crew of Lufthansa flight complained about their behaviour.

Papa D’s lead singer Pawel Stasiak was released on bail but the rest of the group was sent back to Poland. Stasiak had to hire local musicians to play three previously contracted concerts in the US.

Poles appear unlucky on Lufthansa flights. In February, prominent politician Jan Rokita was detained by German police at Munich airport after he became involved in a scuffle on one of the airline’s planes and was escorted back to the airport in handcuffs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poland seizes illegal cigarette factory

Polish police said they arrested 13 people on suspicion they were running an illegal cigarette factory in southwestern Poland.

Sixty police and Customs officers Monday raided a building in the town of Kuznica Piaskowa, in the Silesia region, and confiscated 8.5 million cigarettes and 22 tons of shredded tobacco, Polish Radio said Tuesday.

Police said they believed it was the largest illegal cigarette producing plant ever uncovered in the country.

Four of the 13 arrested people were Ukrainian nationals, the radio said.

Karol Jakubowski of the Polish central police station said if the confiscated cigarettes and tobacco had reached the black market it would have cost the state budget about $4 million in lost tax revenue.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poland threatened by depopulation

By 2060 the population of Poland will drop by one fifth and there will be one employee for two pensioners, predicts the European Statistical Office.

In the years 1997-2007 the number of Poles decreased by 175,000, according to the Main Statistical Office (GUS). But the pace of changes is now speeding up.

The birth rate in Poland, which was recently higher than in previous years – influenced by the recent economic boom - will start dropping in two years, predicts Eurostat. Polish society will grow older, which may lead to a situation when there are not enough employees and too many pensioners.

In 50 years Polish cities will be depopulated as the number of inhabitants will drop significantly. The process already affected Lodz, centre Poland.

Business magazine Parkiet claims that Poland, in order to prevent depopulation, should provide Polish women with better economic conditions to give birth. It should also take more interest in attracting immigrants.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Police and protestors clash in Warsaw

Violence erupted on the streets of Warsaw yesterday as police and protesting train and shipyard workers fought pitched battles outside the Palace of Culture and Science (photo: tvp info).

Five thousand employees from PKP (Polish National Railways) and several hundred shipyard workers from Gdansk, northern Poland, blocked the city centre around 18:00 CET Wednesday and protested against job cuts.

Protesters chanted demands, threw firecrackers at police lines and burned tires, causing putrid smoke to drift through the streets of Warsaw.

Shipyard workers were also equipped with a giant effigy depicting Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

When the protesters, taking advantage of international media attention gathered around Sala Kongresowa, the location of the European People’s Party congress meeting, attempted to cross security barricades, police intervened and sprayed the crowd with mace and fire extinguishers.

Three policemen and several dozen protesters were injured and needed medical attention.

Illegal protesting or police brutality?

Marcin Szyndler, spokesperson for the city police department, claims that the demonstration became unlawful when protesters ignored police requests to disband.

Several dozen workers from the Gdansk shipyard have sought official medical examinations citing injury following yesterday’s protests. Deputy head of the shipyard’s Solidarity workers union, Karol Guzikiewicz, stated that “workers are experiencing dizziness, nausea, vision problems, sore throats, some are vomiting blood and most have traces of skin irritation.”

Guzikiewicz highlighted the fact that, according to him, “It was not actually pepper spray but mustard gas that the police sprayed over the crowds thoughtlessly.”

The Solidarity member claims that police crossed the line in terms of crowd control procedures, maintaining that they resorted to provocation techniques.

Maria Pioro from the national Solidarity commission’s information bureau stated: “As a result of brutal police intervention, several dozen people were injured, one shipyard worker is still in the hospital in Plonsk [northern Poland].”

“Six unionists who were hospitalized in Nowy Dwor, Mazowieckie province at their own request have been released as were 13 others who were hospitalized in Warsaw. On location, under the Palace of Culture and Science, emergency workers treated 32 demonstrators,” reads an official communique from Solidarity headquarters.

A testimony from Janusz Sniadek, a union representative, condemned the police action, claiming that they used chemical substances against the protesters.

“We are demanding an immediate categorical explanation of yesterday’s events. That type of provocation can only lead to escalations in tensions and social conflict,” stated Sniadek.

Police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski maintains that the action of the police and the substances they used were all in accordance of the law. He denied accusations that any gas other than mace (pepper spray) was used during the demonstration.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Grzegorz Schetyna, has assembled a commission to investigate the conditions surrounding Wednesday’s protests in Warsaw.

“There were attempts to jump over the fence and the demonstrators acted aggressively. That is why police were forced to react,” stated Schetyna Thursday morning.

Schetyna added that the protesters were granted permission from the Warsaw city government for a peaceful demonstration.

“After several minutes, the contract was broken and completely unnecessary aggression broke out,” claimed the Deputy Prime Minister.

The workers were demonstration in the face of job cuts on the state railways, after management said that they plan to close thousands of kilometers of track, claiming unpredictability.

And anger has grown since the European Commission recently rejected restructurisation plans at Gdansk shipyard and demanded cuts in production capacity, which would mean large amounts of workers being made redundant. The Minister of the Treasury is set to negotiate a new restructuring plan for the Gdansk shipyard between the 11-15 May

Sunday, May 10, 2009

EC probes Polish telecom

The European Commission launched an investigation, yesterday, into Telekominikacja Polska (TPSA) on suspicions that the Polish telecoms giant is breaching antitrust rules and hindering competition on broadband internet access.

TPSA said in a statement that it was cooperating with the European Commission and "would make available all information necessary to clarify possible objections".

The launch of the probe follows raids carried out by the European Union regulator on Telekomunikacja Polska in September 2008.

If found to have breached EU competition rules, TPSA, which is controlled by France Telecom, could face a fine of up to ten percent of their annual turnover.

The main accusation is that the company refused to allow rivals to access bitstream - a high-speed Internet link between customers and the local telecoms network - and the local telephone network between customers and the central exchange.

A similar investigation was opened against Slovak Telekom, which is a part of Deutsche Telekom group.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Germany and Austria keep doors closed for Polish workers

On Monday Vienna and Berlin officially informed the European Commission that they will retain restrictions on their labour markets for Poles and other new EU members.

As the five year anniversary of the latest enlargement of the European Union approaches on May 1, Germany and Austria will now be the only countries in the 27 nation bloc to retain labour market restrictions.

The governments argue that the present economic crisis is already putting a strain on labour markets and any possible new influx of migrants would be intolerable.

In 2008, over 3.3 million Germans were unemployed. In March 2009 the number rose to 3.6 million. According to Germany’s official letter to the European Commission, sent on Monday, next year about 4.6 million people could be without a job. The worst situation is forecast for the east of the country, where the unemployment rate has risen to over 14 percent.

The European Commission has underlined, however, that the economic crisis is not sufficient reason alone to maintain labour market restrictions.

“We will analyze the official statements and then we will comment on the case”, said Katharina von Schnurbein, spokesman of at the EC.

At present about 490,000 Poles work legally in Germany as self employed, or where rules allow for migrants to occupy a designated number of professions. Even with restrictions in place Germany has been the second favourite destination after the UK for Poles since the nation joined the EU in 2004.

Germany has said that it will retain its restrictions to migrants from Poland and new member states until 2011.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Polish Film extra turns out to be murderer

A man in Poland who brutally murdered a 70 year old woman took part in the reconstruction of the crime for a popular TV crime programme.

Ryszard S. who acted as an extra in a sensationalist TV program about crime turns out to be a murderer in real life.

On 20 April 1999 Ryszard S. from Pustowo, a village in the north west of Poland, murdered his elderly neighbour. Although police suspected 54-years-old Ryszard S. of committing his guilt was not proved and the investigation was suspended.

The same year journalists from “997”, a popular TV program about the most shocking crimes committed in Poland, visited Pustowo to film a reconstruction of the crime. The main roles in the reconstruction were already cast but the film crew needed extras. Ryszard S. volunteered for the role of a local drunkard, the victim’s neighbour, in the hope of earning some money.

From the very beginning Ryszard S. seemed unusually interested in the subject of the old woman’s death. He wanted to know what the police had managed to establish and was very convincing in his role, which aroused suspicion.

Ten years after the murder, policemen from Slupsk reopened the case, which is a normal procedure in cases of unsolved crimes from the past.

“We analyzed the evidence and compared it with Ryszard S.’s DNA,” Robert Czerwinski from Police Headquarters in Slupsk told “Then it turned out he is indeed the murderer.”

In 1999, DNA testing were not available and the popular method of establishing the identity of the suspect was examining finger prints.

“Ryszard S. was surprised when we arrested him ten years after the crime. He was convinced he would escape punishment,” said Czerwinski.

The suspect is waiting for a trial in the custody in Slupsk and may face up to 25 years in prison. The investigation is still running, as the police are trying to establish whether Ryszard S. had any partners in crime.

The policemen from Slupsk received a prize for solving the mysterious crime committed ten years ago.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

More arrests likely in Polish corruption probe

More Polish soccer officials are likely to be detained on suspicion of corruption and the country may have to employ referees from abroad to ensure the top league can continue, the sports minister said on Monday.

Euro 2012 co-host Poland has so far detained nearly 200 people, including board members of football associations, club officials, players and referees, as part of a match-fixing probe involving 52 clubs.

Following suspensions and corruption allegations, Poland has only 15 referees allowed to work at top-flight matches, raising doubts over whether there are enough to keep the league running.

"We are determined to fight corruption until all people involved are charged," sports minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki told Reuters in an interview.

"I don't know if it will be 50 or 150 more people ... I think next year the process should be drawing to a close.

"If the number of referees goes down to 12 or seven, there are many young referees from lower leagues waiting for their chance and we could also consider inviting referees from neighbouring countries."

Drzewiecki added that he favoured tough punishment for those involved in match-fixing, including lifetime bans in the worst cases, but said punishing the clubs might not always be appropriate.

"It is questionable whether we should punish clubs for deeds from four or five years ago, when none of the people involved work there anymore. This is the situation in most cases," he said.

Of those detained as part of the anti-corruption investigation, around 20 people have been charged and have either been jailed or fined.

EURO 2012

The only way to ensure real change in Polish soccer was to eliminate corruption and bring in a new national team coach, Drzewiecki said.

"(Current coach) Leo Beenhakker is a great professional ... but given how poor his relations have been with (Polish FA) PZPN over the past year, it's hard to imagine their cooperation in the future," Drzewiecki said.

"And without that, it's hard to achieve success. But Beenhakker should finish his term."

Dutchman Beenhakker's contract expires later this year and Drzewiecki signalled Poland might want to hire a local coach as his successor.

Turning to Euro 2012, the sports minister was optimistic about Poland's preparations for the event following UEFA president Michel Platini's visit earlier this month but also saw several challenges ahead.

"Apart from the stadiums, hotels and airports are key. And security of course," Drzewiecki said.

He added that better roads needed to be built linking potential host cities.
Both Poland and co-host Ukraine have been criticised in the past by UEFA for making slow progress on preparations.

There has been media speculation that UEFA is looking at possible alternatives as championship hosts but Platini routinely says there is no "plan B".

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Polish teens prostitute themselves for brand clothes

Twenty percent of teenage prostitutes in Poland sell their body in order to earn money for brand clothes, concert tickets or holiday, shows a report commissioned by Poland’s Children Ombudsman’s Office.

The shocking report reveals that the number of teenagers who become prostitutes is growing and the age of teen prostitutes is coming down. Girls usually enter the sex business at the age of fifteen to sixteen. Boys also go on the streets as early as fourteen or fifteen.

Twenty percent do it on their own free will. They choose to sell their bodies in order to earn money for brand clothes, fashionable gadgets or concert tickets. Material goods help them gain respect of their peers. “Young people feel they need to attend trendy clubs, wear brand clothes and have enough money for expensive alcohol and cigarettes in order to be accepted,” said Jacek Kurzepa, the co-author of the report.

Another reason why teenagers decide to enter sex business is the desire to earn money easily and quickly. It is a particularly tempting option for those who collect money for holidays, pets or tickets to all kinds of music and sports events, because it saves time. There is also a group of teenagers who prostitute themselves just for a thrill, to taste a forbidden fruit, says the report.

Prostitution is not perceived as bad or even shameful by many teenagers, the report shows. Young people, instead of calling prostitution by its name, use the term “sponsoring”, which softens its true meaning. For some, teenagers those who have a sponsor can even be role models.

It is becoming easier for teenagers to enter the sex trade nowadays than it was several years ago. Young people do not need to sell their bodies on the street. All they need is a computer with internet access, where they can find sex ads and place their own offers. Some of the teenagers are encouraged to prostitute themselves by their friends who already are in the business. “Twenty- or thirty-years-olds become prostitutes because they have to pay for studies or need money for their children. Teenagers sell their bodies in order to have fun,” said a sex agency owner.

Young people who choose prostitution as their source of income, a bonus to their pocket money, do not realize the real cost of it. In Poland there are not enough institutions or organizations which could help teenagers permanently free themselves from sex work, when they decide to, says the report. Even police are rather helpless when it comes to investigating consensual teenage sex cases since neither a client, nor a teen prostitute want their business to be revealed.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Only one percent of ex-pats register for Euro elections

Only 313 foreigners have registered to vote in Poland for the European Parliament this June, can reveal.

According to Polish and EU election law, the right to elect MEPs belongs to every foreigner above the age of 18, is a citizen of a EU member state and has voting rights in his home country, is a permanent resident of the Republic of Poland and is registered to vote.

EU citizens are also able to vote in Polish local government elections.

The main obstacle seems to getting more foreigners involved in the elections seems to be a fear of red tape. To enroll, foreigners have to submit a special form in a commune office at his or her place of residence. The form can be found on the National Electoral Office web site.

In many other countries in the EU, if you have permanent residency then you are automatically eligible to vote.

Out of more than 10.000 EU citizens who have permanent residency in Poland, only one percent of them usually vote in either European or local elections. That ratio would be even lower if we included those foreigners who do not apply for permanent residency.

But can foreigners still be registered to vote in the elections this summer?

“The deadline passed on April 9th 2009,” Lech Gejzler from National Electoral Commission told “But those who submit their names now can be sure that they will be on the list for the next election.”

Monday, May 04, 2009

Reputation of Polish Police Force at stake?

The Polish Central Investigative Agency has busted a gang involving three anti-terrorist police officers, in Lodz, central Poland. The ongoing investigation has attracted the attention of some media and a debate has been sparked on how corrupted the Polish law enforcement can be, and should citizens stop to trust it.

Allegedly, three police officers of the Lodz anti-terrorist brigade, worked for a gang after hours. Reportedly, their motive was low wages at the police, as well as... boredom. Perfectly trained functionaries just did not have much to do in their job. So they started making additional money as bodyguards at mafia-run establishments. Later, they were to terrorize owners of night clubs and force them to employ gang members as bodyguards. This, in turn, made it possible to control drug dealing on the spot, monopolizing the market. Occasionally, they would let the police arrest dealers working for their competition.

The group was finally busted, and the presence of three police functionaries has been publicized as a scandal. It was police officers who cleared their ranks of unworthy functionaries, explains Mariusz Sokolowski, spokesman of the Polish Police. There is no reason why these three individual cases of arrested criminals should damage the reputation of a one hundred thousand-strong Polish Police force, especially now that they face justice, he says. Wojciech Kulesza, social psychologist and professor at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities says that once the media debate calms down, the public perception of the police should get back to normal.

Not so much corruption scandals, but general inefficiency bother Polish society more, according to the recent opinion poll, commissioned by the Polish Police Headquarters. One third of the respondents say they refrained from reporting a crime to the police, because they judged it was not serious. One in four said they did not believe the culprit would be caught. Ten percent preferred to take the matter in their own hands. Forty percent were satisfied with the service they received from the police. More or less the same number had complaints, mostly about the inefficiency - culprits were not caught and stolen property never restored. 17% of respondents complained about rude police officers and over twice that number thought the procedures took too much time.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Poles want children but not marriage

Every fifth child in Poland is born out of wedlock, writes Dziennik. There are five times more ‘illegitimate’ children than thirty years ago.

“In the past marriage was synonymous to family. Nowadays a wedding does not imply having children and a child is no longer a reason to get married”, says Prof. Miroslawa Marody from the University of Warsaw, commenting that Poland’s views on family life have changed. There is a growing number of people living in informal relationships who decide to have a child or married couples who decide not to.

“Nowadays traditional marriage is perceived by many as a restriction”, explains Prof. Krystyna Iglicka-Okolska. “Young people do not want to sign a marriage certificate. They prefer to stay in informal relationships and evolve”. It is easier for them, than for their parents, to abandon the idea of getting married because the social pressure is not that strong any more.

The drop in the number of marriages in Poland does not necessarily mean the end of a traditional Polish family, claim sociologists. It is possible that the next generation will return to the traditional family model.

In comparison to the rest of Europe, Poland is still a very traditional country. The latest polls show that, in Great Britain, up to 75 percent of women who had a child before turning 25, did not get married.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Two kids in court for internet bullying

Two eleven-year-olds are standing before family court in Elk, northern Poland, for having broken into a fellow student's account and bullying him.

The boys hacked into their classmates account and, according to police spokesperson Monika Bekulard, bullied the boy.

“They changed what his profile said, putting up vulgar phrases to the extent that the boy was bullied and victimized in school, amongst his fellow colleagues,” Bekulard added. Because the boy’s password was changed, he was not able to access his account to change his profile.

The child’s mother informed police, who are working together with website administrators to cut down on such occurrences of ‘internet crime.’

The family court may distribute a wide range of punishments, including court-ordered observation of internet time, stated the police spokesperson. is Poland’s largest social networking platform, launched in November 2006 and numbering 27 million users today.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Polish life in UK is getting harder

Cezary Olszewski, publisher of the UK weekly Goniec Polski, claims that he is not at all surprised by reports of life getting harder for Polish migrants living in Great Britain.

“More and more workers feel that they are not well received,” says Olszewski. “In times of economic crisis, the easiest is to resort to selfishness and nationalistic sentiments,” he added, commenting on the recent and more frequent media reports of Brits protesting against the presence of Polish migrants in the country.

The publisher claims that there are about 1.5 million Poles living in the British Isles and about 750,000 in London alone. Olszewski claims that about 10 percent of migrants have returned to Poland in the first quarter of this year and probably another ten percent will do so in the coming months, especially if the construction and domestic services sectors of the economy continue to suffer as that is where most Poles are employed.

Employees at Polish Tourism and Travel, a partner of Goniec Polski under the Centre for Polish Culture, are also of the opinion that many Poles are returning home. Teresa Lines, a Pole who moved to the UK forty years ago and is now employed at the travel agency, complains that business is getting worse.

“Before Christmas we started noticing that many Polish clients were buying one-way tickets [home],” Lines stated.

Kasa Business Services, an accounting firm that helps Poles set up businesses in the UK, reports having to have closed their work agency because there simply are too few jobs on the market.

“The economic crisis has really hurt the construction industry,” states Ela Szatkowska, a Pole residing in the UK for eight years. “There are less and less firms hiring than last year,” Szatkowska added.

While Olszewski claims that he understands the nationalistic sentiments rising out of British society as a result of the economic crisis and increasing unemployment statistics, he maintains that Poles are not taking jobs away from Brits.

“Even if all the Poles left Britain, unemployment would not go down,” Olszewski adds. “We are not at fault for the economic crisis.”