Foreign diplomats owe huge parking fine debt

Foreign diplomats’ habits of parking on cycle paths and near bus stops have amassed almost 600 unpaid parking tickets so far this year, with the total amount of unpaid fines for the year reaching over 400,000 kronor ($59,642).

“It is a sad state of affairs and it strikes back at the embassies in question when the problem gets this kind of attention,“ said Anders Jörle, spokesperson for the foreign ministry to daily Svenska Dagbladet.

According to SvD, the ministry receives information from the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) as to how many embassies have unpaid parking tickets.

Up until July 1st, the tally was 579 unpaid tickets with both minor infractions such as failing to pay at the parking metre and flagrant parking offences where the vehicles have been left on cycle paths and at bus stops. The total amount of owed parking fines between January and June this year comes to 439,225 kronor.

According to SvD’s investigation, the Russian embassy is responsible for the largest number of unpaid tickets. The second largest culprit is China, according to SvD.

It is up to the foreign ministry to contact the embassies when the ministry sees that they don’t adhere to Swedish law. But the ministry can’t make them pay the fines, as the diplomats all have immunity to Swedish law.

At Swedish embassies and consulates abroad, the policy is that laws of the host country should always be followed. If Swedish diplomats receive a ticket they will pay for the fine themselves, according to the paper.

Politicians in Stockholm’s City Hall think that something has to be done about the unpaid infractions.

“It seems that some embassies are doing this quite regularly. The municipalities need to get increased authority, to be able to clamp the vehicles or tow them away. It upsets me to hear about this,” said city councillor Per Ankersjö to SvD.

The Local/rm

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Man found stabbed in neck in popular Malmö park

Two men were discovered lying severely injured in a central Malmö park on Saturday morning, with one of them stabbed in the neck.

Man found stabbed in neck in popular Malmö park
The men were spotted in the shrubbery outside one of the park's popular outdoor nursery schools. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
A passer-by spotted the two bodies lying in shrubbery near one of the park's outdoor nursery schools at around 11am on Saturday. Police and emergency services rushed to the spot to find both men still alive. 
“After further investigation, one of the wounded men was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of the other man,” the police said in a statement. According to the Sydsvenskan newspaper, police are treating the man wounded in the neck as the victim, although both were injured. 
Susanne Steinlechner, 57, who lives nearby, told the local Kvällposten newspaper that she had been woken by sounds of fighting in the middle of the night. 
“I always keep my door open and I was woken by angry shouting during the night. It was aggressive and I heard it several times during the night,” she said. 
Police spokesman Calle Persson said that the police were collecting forensic evidence from the bodies and clothing of the two men and from the area where they were found. 
“We will be securing evidence at the hospital and then there will also be evidence collected at the time of arrest. Both the victim and the suspect's clothing are those they were wearing when they were found.” 
Persson said that both the suspected victim and the suspected perpetrator were currently being treated in hospital.