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CRIME

Nationalist linked to huge Swedish dynamite haul

UPDATED: A local politician for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats is quitting the party after being linked to a 550-kilogram dynamite find in Halland, Swedish media reported on Wednesday.

Nationalist linked to huge Swedish dynamite haul
A Swedish police car. File photo: Mikel Fritzon/TT
Police in west Sweden arrested two people on Tuesday following raids on a car and two apartments in the town of Falkenberg, which led to the discovery of the potentially deadly explosives.
 
A 30-year-old man and a 41-year-old man appeared at Varberg District Court on suspicion of breaching Swedish laws on the possession of flammable and explosive goods.
 
Police revealed on Tuesday night that a 71-year-old woman and a 33-year old man had also been questioned in connection with the case.
 
And Christian Krappedal, a press assistant for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats told the TT news agency that one of the suspects was a councillor for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party in the Halland region.
 
The Hallands Nyheter newspaper reported around noon on Wednesday that the head of the Sweden Democrats' local branch in the politician's town had confirmed that the person had requested to leave the party.
 
The news followed intense speculation in the Swedish media that at least one of the men linked to the case was known to support far-right groups and that Nazi propaganda was also unearthed at one of the searched properties.
 
Tommy Nyman, a police inspector working on the case, refused to discuss the alleged nationalist links with The Local ahead of Krappedal's announcement, but conceded that it had been a dramatic week for the police force.
 
“Yes, that it has,” he said.
 
“550 kilograms of dynamite…that's a lot and it is a very unusual find.” 
 
“First we found some explosives at a house – 150 kilograms. Then we got a tip-off and found some more in a car and then we found 350 kilograms in another building.” 
 
The suspects have not been named in the Swedish media. But Anders Roy, a lawyer for the 41-year-old, told Aftonbladet that his client had come across the dynamite through his line of work and had not been planning any criminal acts.
 
The younger suspect, 30, has admitted buying explosives from his older friend, his lawyer Lars Brandel told Swedish media.
 
Falkenberg, in western Sweden, is a pretty coastal market town that dates back to the thirteenth century. Situated around 100km south of Gothenburg, it is home to more than 20,000 people.

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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