SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

‘Kidnapped’ man found dead in western Sweden

Swedish police have launched a murder investigation after a 27-year-old man who was reportedly kidnapped in southern Gothenburg was found dead.

'Kidnapped' man found dead in western Sweden
Swedish police investigate the scene where the body was found. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

A search was launched last week after witnesses said they had seen the man, Anton, being beaten by a group of three to four other men in a car park before being bundled into a red Passat.

The police released his picture with the family's permission, appealing for the help of the public in finding him. The red car was discovered south of Gothenburg on Friday night.

But at 7pm on Sunday a body was found near the Sisjön lake in Askim in western Sweden, not far from where the man was abducted. Later in the evening police confirmed that it was Anton.

“It is incredibly tragic. Our thoughts naturally go to his relatives,” head of the regional police's investigation unit Robert Karlsson told the TT news agency.

Forensic teams investigated the sealed-off area overnight.

A kidnapping probe was launched after Anton disappeared earlier in the week. Two men and a woman were still being held by police on Monday morning.

Officers previously said that they believed the kidnapping could be related to an unpaid debt, but did not comment on whether they thought the violence to be linked to recent gang crime in Gothenburg.

Sweden's second largest city has seen a number of high profile shootings in recent months, including an attack outside a restaurant which made global headlines.

Amir Rostami, a leading authority on Sweden's organized crime groups, who is based at Stockholm University, told The Local earlier this year that organized crime remains a persistent problem in Gothenburg, after first emerging in the 1990s.

“Today, the gang environment is…I don't want to exactly call it the Wild West, but something in that direction,” he said.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS