07 January 2016

Reports: asylum seekers among Cologne attacks suspects

Police identified some suspects who harassed women in Cologne on New Year's Eve as asylum seekers, media reports say. City police reportedly did not want to publicize this because of its "politically awkward" nature.

City authorities identified some suspects in the Cologne New Year's Eve attacks as asylum seekers from Syria, detaining or questioning some of them, according to reports by local newspaper "K├Âlner Stadt-Anzeiger" and national daily "Die Welt," which published an online preview of investigations by its "Welt am Sonntag" Sunday paper.

According to the newspapers' reports, citing officers on duty on New Year's Eve, officials checked the IDs of at least 100 people present at Cologne's central station on December 31 after their behavior became conspicuous. Seventy-one people were identified, 11 people were remanded into custody and 32 criminal complaints were registered, according to the Welt am Sonntag (WamS) report.

"There were, quite to the contrary of what was said publicly, identity checks on numerous people," the WamS quoted an unnamed officer as saying. "Most of them were recently-arrived asylum seekers." [Deutsche Welle] Read more