Swedish movie star and dozens of sex buyers seized in Stockholm raids

Major police raids in Stockholm have grabbed headlines in Sweden after a TV and movie star was caught buying sex. But he was not the only one arrested.

Police seized 28 people during raids against sex buyers in Stockholm in the past week, writes Expressen.

The crackdown included a major raid of an apartment at Grevgatan in the upmarket Stockholm district Östermalm on Thursday, where police arrests included former boxer, actor and TV host Paolo Roberto.

Criminal suspects are usually not named in Swedish newspapers until there has been a conviction, and Swedish media initially reported only that a “TV star” had been arrested for buying sex. However, Roberto then outed himself and confessed to having bought sex in an interview with broadcaster TV4.

“You're buying another woman's body, probably someone who has been forced to come there. She's not there because it's so nice,” he told TV4, adding he regretted his actions, which he said were self-destructive.

Aftonbladet reported that he was suspected of paying 1,500 kronor for sex with a woman from one of Europe's poorest countries, and several of his commercial partners immediately halted all collaborations with him.

Roberto is a well-known face in Swedish newspapers and television, who has hosted several TV shows, and is probably most known to an international audience for starring in one of the Millennium movies.

But he was not the only one arrested.

Paolo Roberto. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Police said they had arrested 28 people during a series of stings in the past week. Almost all confessed on the spot, and police officer Simon Häggström told SVT the arrests were likely just a “needle in a haystack”.

“The youngest was 21 years old, the oldest one who was caught was 68, from all classes in society, from all types of backgrounds,” Anders Olofsson, who led the police raids, told Expressen.

Last year around 50 men in Stockholm county were convicted of buying or attempting to buy sexual services.

Sweden became the first country in the world to criminalise buying sex, rather than selling sex, in 1999. Anyone found guilty of buying sex can be fined or sent to jail for up to a year.

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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.