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Cops quiz 11-year-old over gang attacks

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13:53 CET+01:00
An 11-year-old boy has been brought in by police in connection with a series of knife point robberies in Malmö. Victims were unaccompanied women, and police believe that a gang of boys aged between 11 and 13 are responsible for the attacks.

”The gang has been hanging around the area, sending out one or two boys at a time to rob the victims. The knife, or knives, have been shared around among the boys,” said Glenn Sjögren of the Malmö police youth department.

The attacks have all taken place in or around Folkets Park in Malmö.

In the latest incident on Thursday evening, two women, aged 26 and 31, were attacked within minutes of one another. Both succeeded in scaring away the young offenders before they managed to steal anything.

On Sunday evening two female victims in their twenties were also attacked at knife point by two boys.

One of the women received a minor cut to her hand when trying to protect herself against the thieves. The boys managed to take a small sum of money from her.

The knife that has been used in the attacks has been described by the victims as a bread knife or barbecue knife.

Police apprehended the young suspect from his school.

“We hope that the 11-year old, who is not the youngest, will tell us who the others are,” said the police to TT .

The boy will be heard in the youth department of the police family violence department which is situated separate from the Malmö police buildings.

“This is a tactical decision,” said Sjögren to TT.

“It is important not raise the boy's status.”

The boy is not old enough to be criminally responsible, and will not be formally under suspicion for a crime. He can be legally interrogated for a maximum of three hours. After this, the case will be handed over to social services.

The interview will be conducted in the presence of the boy's parents and a social secretary.

“The fact that the boy is 11 is very unusual,” Camilla Martinsson, one of the four social secretaries from the youth department in Malmö, told TT.

Martinsson explained that the child's social circumstances and the potential need for treatment is what will be considered. Any measures taken will reflect the child's situation, not the severity of the crime.

“You have to try to do things so it works out as best as possible for the child.”

The first step of the process is always to talk to a child and its parents, but sometimes children are forced to be detained in Sweden's youth welfare system.

”You try to avoid taking a child into care unless absolutely necessary. It's only a last resort,” said Martinsson to TT.

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