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CRIME

Outrage as tabloid names king as murder suspect

A Danish gossip rag wrongly reported that Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf was a suspect in the murder inquiry into the high-profile hit on Stockholm underworld kingpin Mille Markovic, who once claimed the king had visited a sex club.

Outrage as tabloid names king as murder suspect
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf with members of his family. File photo: TT

"The story was a draft that shouldn't have been published," Niels Pinborg,  editor-in-chief of Se og Hør told The Local after an article headlined "King Carl Gustaf suspected of murder" appeared on the publication's website.

The news item, which appeared on Friday, has since been removed.

A spokesperson for the Swedish Royal Court called the article "unlawful", telling Danish media magazine Journalisten removing the story was "wise".

"Errors happen all the time. We proved we are able to undo wrong decisions," Pinborg told The Local.

The Danish paper's unsubstantiated accusation against King Carl XVI Gustaf appeared following the killing of reputed Swedish underworld figure Mille Markovic, who was gunned down in his car last week outside central Stockholm

The original article said the Swedish king had a potential motive to kill Markovic, after the former released images of the regent at Privé, a sex club once owned by the convicted criminal. However, experts later proclaimed the images had been faked. 

"It could be a contract killing," the article read. "And the king is among the persons who has a motive to get rid of the Serbian-born Mille Markovic."

The editor-in-chief regretted the article had been published with such pointed claims, admitting to Journalisten that "the headline in particular was almost libelous".

However, he added that he still believes the story about the king's rumoured involvement in the killing to be a "spectacular" story, saying that Se og Hør is considering publishing a different version of the story.

Speaking with The Local on Tuesday, however, Pinborg refused further comment.

"I have no further comment, because any repetition of the wrongful claims in the story would be damaging to the Swedish king," he said.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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