Sunday, 29 July 2012

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets – less than halfway through his prison sentence for laundering £1million of drugs cash. Scotland’s most powerful mobster has been enjoying meals at expensive restaurants and socialising with pals after being allowed home for a week each month. Stevenson – who was also accused of shooting dead his best friend in an underworld hit – was put behind bars in September 2006 when he was arrested after a four-year surveillance operation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was later sentenced to 12 years and nine months for money laundering. But, we can reveal, he is now allowed out of Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee – just five years and 10 months later. A source said: “He seems determined to show his face all around town to deliver the message that he’s back and, as far as he’s concerned, nothing has changed. “A lot of people are surprised that he’s being allowed out so early. Some are not too pleased about it for a number of reasons.” Stevenson, 47, has been spotted at Bothwell Bar & Brasserie, which is run by his friend Stewart Gilmore. He and his cronies have also dined at upmarket Italian restaurant Il Pavone in Glasgow’s Princes Square shopping centre. And Stevenson has joined friends at various other restaurants and hotels, including Glasgow’s Hilton Garden Inn. A Sunday Mail investigation can today reveal that the Parole Board for Scotland could recommend Stevenson’s total freedom as early as February next year. However, the final decision on his release will rest with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Yesterday, Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “I’m surprised to hear this and that anyone in these circumstances should get out of jail before the halfway point of their sentence – far less so when the conviction is of someone involved in organised crime. “The only circumstances where that would be conceivable would be if someone completely changed their lifestyle. But even then that should not be before they’ve served half their sentence. “I’m sure the victims of these crimes – and with drugs there are direct and indirect victims – will also be surprised at this.” To prepare Stevenson for his release, prison bosses have allowed him to stay a full week each month at his modest flat in Burnside, near Glasgow. On Friday, we watched him leaving the property with his wife Caroline and driving off in a silver Audi. A prison service insider said: “The Parole Board expect the prison authorities to have allowed home visits to test suitability for release ahead of the first eligible parole date. In Stevenson’s case, that’s next February. “There are conditions attached which vary but usually include the obvious ones like not mixing with other criminals and staying only at the designated address. “For prisoners sentenced to more than 10 years, the Parole Board make their recommendations to the Justice Secretary, who then decides whether to release on licence. “Stevenson is trying to keep his nose clean to convince the Parole Board that he poses no threat to society. “But, given his high profile and significance, it’s inevitable that the authorities will be careful before making any final decision.” Stevenson headed a global smuggling gang with a multi-million-pound turnover when he was brought down by the SCDEA’s Operation Folklore, which seized £61million of drugs. He faced drug and money laundering charges along with eight other suspects, including his 53-year-old wife. But his lawyers struck a deal with the Crown Office to admit money laundering in exchange for his wife’s freedom and the drugs charges being dropped. Stevenson’s stepson Gerry Carbin Jr, 32, was also jailed – for five years and six months – but was freed in 2010. Stevenson was previously arrested for the murder of Tony McGovern, 35, who was gunned down in Glasgow’s Springburn in 2000. But prosecutors dropped the case through lack of evidence. A gangland source said: “He does not fear any kind of reprisal from Tony’s brothers, nor does he regard any other criminals in Scotland as a threat or even as rivals. He did not fear any other operation in Scotland before he was jailed. Why would he now?” Two years ago, the Sunday Mail exposed a backdoor deal when the Crown handed back Stevenson’s £300,000 watch collection, which had been seized under proceeds of crime of legislation. Last June, he was sent back to high-security Shotts jail in Lanarkshire from an open prison after a major SCDEA drugs probe, Operation Chilon. Detectives believed that the gang they investigated was controlled by Stevenson. Haulage firm boss Charles McAughey’s home was one of 11 targeted in raids. In 2009, we revealed that French police had found 684kg of pure cocaine worth £31million in a lorry owned by McAughey. Chilon resulted in the SCDEA seizing 242kg of cannabis worth £1.21million and the jailing of three men for a combined 15 years.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tulisa's Friend, 21, Shot Dead In Gangland Hit

Reece James, 21, a close friend of Tulisa Contostavlos has been shot dead in a reported gangland attack. The 21-year-old, who appeared with Tulisa in a video for rapper Nines, was shot in the head in a "pre-planned and targeted" hit, 100 miles from his home in London, reports the UK's Sun newspaper. Police found James' body in Boscombe, Bournemouth, at around 2.30am near where Somali drug gangs are said operate. A 22-year-old man was arrested. Reece was said to have been in the area with some friends for "a couple of months", though had filmed the video earlier this month with Tulisa and rapper Nines on the Church End Estate in Harlesden, North West London. The former N Dubz star caused controversy at the time, making a "C" symbol to the camera - the same sign that is used by Harlesden's notorious Church Road Soldiers gang. Tulisa claimed it was a reference to Camden, where she was born. Twitter tributes began flooding in last night, with one user writing, "RIP Reece James. Thoughts are with him and his family and friends". Local MP Tobias Ellwood described the killing as "a spill over from the drugs turf war in the capital", adding, "This was one London gang chasing down another, carrying out a professional hit and then going back".

Friday, 27 July 2012

Gangs of highway robbers are targeting British tourists on holiday in Spain.

Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in ‘quick and slick’ distraction muggings.

The thieves typically trick their victims with loud noises, apparent accidents, supposed vehicle problems or pleas for help – before stealing bags and belongings from their vehicles. 

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

Thieves: Hundreds of visitors in British-registered vehicles or hire cars have had their possessions, passports and money taken in 'quick and slick' distraction muggings

As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ‘an easy target’ for motorway thieves. 

The number of British tourists ambushed on Spanish roads has soared as the euro crisis has deepened, with the British Embassy in Madrid reporting a 10 per cent rise in the first quarter of this year.

 This is likely to increase further as the peak holiday season begins. 

A spokesman for the embassy said:  ‘Motorists may be driving along the motorway and not notice there’s a car close up behind. 

‘Someone in the other car throws a stone at their vehicle which creates a loud bang. The British drivers pull over to see what has happened and the gang is behind them. 

‘They cause a distraction to steal from them or simply mug them. It’s a growing problem.’

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

Warning: As millions of families begin their summer breaks, the Foreign Office has warned British-registered cars are ¿an easy target¿ for motorway thieves

A hotspot for the gangs is the AP7 motorway between the French border and the Alicante region in southern Spain. 

More than 140 cases of theft on this route were reported to British Consulates last year. 

However, a spokesman said there were likely to be ‘hundreds more’ attacks going unreported across Spain because victims usually contact a British consulate only if they have lost their passport. 

Dave Thomas, consular regional director for Spain, said: ‘Be on your guard against anyone who attempts to stop you or ask you for help.

‘They may well be part of a  gang operating a scam in which an unseen accomplice will rob you of your things.’ 

Stephen and Helen Robinson, from Desford, Leicestershire, had their bags stolen from their Audi Q5 as they stopped to walk their labrador retriever Polly at a service station between Barcelona and Valencia. 

The couple, who are in their 50s, were standing at the boot of their car when a man on a mobile phone asked them how to say something in English. 

While he distracted them, their belongings were taken from the front of the car, despite Polly being inside. 

Mrs Robinson said: ‘It was quick and slick. You may be more tired and therefore more vulnerable when you’ve been travelling, so separate your valuables into different places in the car, and when you stop be aware you may be being watched. You won’t see the accomplice of the person who is distracting you.’ 

In a separate incident, Joy and Alan Horton, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, were driving a Ford Focus hatchback through Spain when they heard a loud bang and pulled over.

A car that had been travelling close behind them also stopped, and while the driver talked to them, his accomplice stole their possessions without them noticing.

Mr Horton said: ‘If you think your car may have been in a collision and you pull over, lock the car as soon as you get out and mount a guard on both sides of the vehicle. Keep all bags and valuables in a locked boot.’ 

Professor Stephen Glaister, of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Drivers need to remember to stay alert and be ready for unwelcome surprises just as they would be at home.’

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Slovak fugitive May Fight His Expulsion From Belize

Last Thursday 7news broke the story about Mello Karol - the international fugitive form the Slovak Republic who was found on San Pedro, living with his family and running a business.

Since then, we've been trying to get information on this sensational capture from police, but it's been like pulling teeth.

Finally today, the police press office sent out a preposterous release, asking for the media's, quote, "usual co-operation to withhold information regarding MELLO Karol."

The press officer, Fitzroy Yearwood adds, quote "I am not at liberty to release any information concerning Karol Mello at this time." First of all, on the part of this station, there is no usual or unusual cooperation with police to withhold any information - those are the norms for a police state, not an informed democracy.

Second, we suspect that local authorities want a hush kept because the government is trying to get an expulsion order issued as quietly as possible - and be finished with the situation.

But, reports are that he has retained a British Queen's Counsel and local legal representation to fight his expulsion. They would do that on the basis that he entered the country legally - and should be entitled to some kind of hearing before he is expelled.

As we have reported, Mello is reputed to be a big fish in the eastern European underworld. The 42 year old is wanted by Interpol and was caught last week Wednesday on Pescador Drive in San Pedro after months of being in Belize. He is an alleged mafia boss wanted for setting up a double murder in 2004.

After successfully eluding arrest for six years, Polish special police forces arrested Mello in Krakow in October 2010 but he was released from custody last May by a Slovak court, reportedly due to procedural errors. Now he is being sought on a European and international arrest warrant.

Reports suggest that the Slovak Government has a jet on standby in Guatemala to shuttle him away the minute he is expelled from Belize.

Accused Calgary gangster's custody questioned at deportation hearing

The man who police claim to be “the trigger man” for a notorious street gang is a public threat and shouldn’t be released pending deportation proceedings. But Tien Ngoc Ho’s lawyer argued at Monday’s immigration hearing there isn’t enough evidence to warrant keeping him in custody. “In the past when detainees have been detained citing a danger to society, they have had violent records,” Bjorn Harsanyi said. “There has no single act of violence alleged against Mr. Ho — there has been speculation and innuendo, but we have to be careful to separate innuendo and proof.” Stephanie Mathyk-Pinto, Canada Border Services Agency hearings officer said Ho — who recently finished federal time for weapons convictions before going into CBSA custody pending deportation — if released poses a public danger and is unlikely to report for removal. He was convicted after police found loaded handguns in a hidden vehicle compartment of his common-law wife’s car and five loaded handguns in his home. Jail officials have a photograph of Ho, who survived a 2005 gang-related drive-by shooting, in jail flanked by known gang members. The issue, she argued, is not whether the reputed gang member is determined to be one but whether it is safe for him to be in the community. “I’m not asking you to find him a gang member ... but to look at the totality,” Mathyk-Pinto said. Ho, who arrived to Canada in 1992 at age 5, saw his permanent resident status stripped in December 2009 after being ordered deported for serious criminality. Mathyk-Pinto said it is likely Ho will “arm himself for his own protection and surround himself with (gang) associates,” if released. “If there was no threat on Mr. Ho’s life you have to ask why he had two fully loaded hand guns in his glove box. Who does that? He was clearly afraid for his life,” she said. Police Sgt. Gord Eiriksson said Ho “can put anyone in danger ... the public, family members or associates” and told the hearing he is skeptical 24-hour house arrest, suggested by Harysani, would reduce that risk. “The reality is that even if Mr. Ho was bound by a house arrest, we’re talking about individuals who have the ability and the intent to (obtain) high-powered weapons, assault rifles that would blow through this house or that house and the next house, so definitely the public will be at risk,” he said. Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Lee Ann King delivers her decision Tuesday.

Three murdered in resurgence of Jamaica gangster violence

Gangsters in the St Andrew North Police division appear to again be at each other’s throats, having killed three persons and injuring three others in a bloody trail of events over the weekend. The killings occurred in the communities of Grants Pen and Sunrise Crescent, off Red Hills Road, driving fear into residents and causing police to beef up security in the two ‘hotspot’ areas. “The activities that we have been seeing in these two communities are between two rival gangs. It has nothing to do with the residents or persons traversing in and around the communities,” Deputy Superintendent of Police George McFarlane told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. In the most recent case, around 12:30 pm in the vicinity of Sunrise Crescent yesterday, gunmen ambushed 32-year-old Ava-Gaye Ward and sprayed her with bullets even as she ran for her life. Ward, a higgler, was shot in the back, hip, abdomen, and right palm. Police suspect that her attackers were avenging the July 5 murders of Denver Pink, 38, and Latisha Rich, 23, who were both cut down at premises in the same community. Investigators from the Major Investigation Taskforce said four 9mm spent shells and one live round were taken from the scene. Ward’s killing followed that of Paul Jackson, 49, who was also chased and shot, allegedly by a lone gunmen as Jackson attempted to flee onto premises on Grants Pen Avenue, not far from Sunrise Crescent. That attack took place about 10:00 am. Detectives believe that incident may have been linked to the death of 26-year-old Dwain Rodman who, along with three other men were shot at a nearby bar about 10:45 Friday night. They said gunmen travelling in a Silver Toyota motorcar alighted from the vehicle, entered the premises and fired. The three other victims, which included a 17-year-old, are said to be in serious condition at hospital. The chain of events has again placed the St Andrew North Police division — which is littered with criminal ‘hotspots’ — in the spotlight. A curfew has since been imposed in the Grants Pen community as police compile a list of persons of interest and police operations have also been bolstered in the Sunrise Crescent Area, McFarlane said. “These are gang members who are killing each other and who are shooting at each other; it has nothing to do with the residents themselves. So we just want to reassure persons that we will do everything possible to deal with these gang members,” he said, noting that heavy police presence in the area should bring some reassurance that the police are “on top of things, and that we will deal with it accordingly”. According to McFarlane: “The (Grants Pen) murders are the product of a long-standing dispute between two gangs — Top Gully and Bottom Gully — and it was triggered by the murder of one Jermaine Gibson, otherwise called Jerry Springer,” he said. “He was an influential member of the Top Gully gang. He was killed in Castle Heights and as a result of his killing there has been a number of shootings,” he said. Last night, a senior officer who once headed the St Andrew North division was critical of how the area is being policed in recent times. “I am convinced that it can be policed better. You see, hotspot policing takes a lot of concentration and it takes dedicated policing,” said the officer. “Certain place police have to park and can’t move or else them lose all them work. If you don’t occupy the spaces where criminals occupy then you must expect that they are going to come and give you trouble.” In relation to the Sunrise Crescent incidents, the officer said the attacks were being ordered by a well-known don in that area, who is bent on eliminating any threats to his reign. “Anybody who he feels is an informer or a threat to him he will send someone to kill them; it could even be your relative,” the cop said, adding that the don recently left the island and is ordering the killings from overseas.

A gang of about a dozen armed people stormed into a church youth camp-out near Mexico City and went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape

End of days…

A gang of about a dozen armed people stormed into a church youth camp-out near Mexico City and went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape, authorities said Saturday.

Seven girls were raped during the Friday attack and several campers were beaten, according to the state prosecutors office in Mexico State, which surrounds the Mexican capital.

About 90 youths sponsored by a church group known as the Chains of the Holy Trinity were camping at an eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, in a hilly area that is close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl volcano. Prosecutors did not say what church the group is affiliated with, but the camp-out appeared to have been a sort of spiritual retreat.

The office said that the attack lasted for hours, and that when the attackers left they stole two vehicles and other articles from the campers.

The office said investigators were pursuing two lines of inquiry, but did not reveal what they were.

Drug gangs operate on the outskirts of Mexico City, but campers and hikers have also been targeted in the past by common criminals.

Gang leader walks out of Denmark prison

 A gang leader convicted of attempted murder walked out of a Danish prison and fled in a taxi after convincing a guard he had permission to leave, officials and media said Sunday. The prisoner, Mohammed Figuigui -- nicknamed "The Painter" -- went to the prison gate Friday afternoon and told the guard he had a permit to spend the weekend outside. After being let out he disappeared in a taxi, Danish media reported. The guard realised his mistake 20 minutes later when another prisoner, the rightful beneficiary of the weekend pass, came to the gate, local media reported, saying the guard had been suspended. The director of the Oestjylland prison on Denmark's Jutland peninsula confirmed to AFP that "a prisoner escaped on Friday afternoon". Copenhagen police confirmed the escapee was Figuigui and said an international warrant for his arrest had been issued. Figuigui, who according to media reports had tried to escape on two previous occasions, was serving an eight-year sentence for the attempted murder of a witness in a criminal case. Some reports said he may have fled to Morocco.

Four arrested on suspicion of alleged weapon possesion, gang membership

Four alleged gang members were arrested in Napa late Saturday night after police spotted them fleeing the scene of a reported fight and found a dangerous weapon in their car, according to Napa police. Officers responded around 11:45 p.m. Saturday to a report of a fight in the 800 block of Laguna Street and spotted a car fleeing the area with its lights off, police said. Police said an officer stopped the car near the intersection of Jacob Court and Carriage Place and saw that its occupants were known gang members. A search of the vehicle revealed a metal club stowed in the car's glove compartment along with other evidence of gang affiliation, police said. Police said two of the car's occupants, are on probation with the Napa County Sheriff's Office, and that one, 22-year-old Napa man Antonio Estanislao Juarez, allegedly gave police a fake name. Officers arrested Juarez, 19-year-old Victor Ortega and Jesus Juan Avalos, 20, who was driving the car, as well as a 17-year-old Napa boy on suspicion of participation in a criminal street gang and for alleged weapon possession. Avalos, Juarez and Ortega were booked into the Napa County Detention Center and the 17-year-old was taken to Juvenile Hall.

3 Portland gang shootings in less than 9 hours

Police in Portland responded to three gang-related shootings in less than nine hours Thursday and Friday, with one injury and property damage reported. A man was injured in Northeast Portland just after midnight Friday when a bullet grazed his head, according to Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau. The suspected gang member was driving near NE 125th Avenue and NE Sandy Boulevard when he was shot by someone in the car behind him. That shooting took place about eight hours after North Portland’s Peninsula Park was cleared out due to an exchange of gunfire Thursday afternoon. Background: North Portland park evacuated after shootout Five hours later, at around 9 p.m., an exchange of gunfire damaged several apartments and a car near SE 129th Avenue and SE Division Street. A suspect was hit by a car while running from the scene, but he got up and kept running. More: Suspect hit by car after SE Portland shootout The string of gang-related shootings comes amid 'Operation Safe Summer,' a plan launched in June that doubled the number of gang enforcement and gun task force officers. No suspects were located in connection with any of the three shootings. King says the violence must be stopped before innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire. “Gang members, when they shoot guns in the city -- especially in and around parks like Peninsula Park yesterday -- demonstrate an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” he said Friday.. The gang enforcement team has been called out to investigate 67 violent crimes in 2012.

Gangs sometimes fire first shots online

 It's been more than two years since the death of Decari Antonio Starr, an 18-year-old from St. Paul who was shot in the chest in north Minneapolis and then dumped at North Memorial Medical Center. There's almost nothing publicly known about his unsolved killing, but tucked away on the pages of Facebook, Starr, who was also known as "Pudda" or "Pudda Loc," has attained the higher profile of someone revered on the street because he was violently taken away. There, friends of his call themselves "R.I.P. Pudda Loc," and post pictures of him and his gravestone. Some vow to avenge his death on pages where others mourn. On a Facebook picture of Starr's grave, one person wrote "rip big cuzzin your killer dieing this year." Usually hidden from public view, the life of gangs weave in and out of some Facebook pages as kids wrapped up in Minneapolis gang life share their highs and lows on the social network. Posting in real time, their pages include hospital photographs after they've been shot, poses before the mirror with gang signs flashing, and a never-ending conversation rife with gang references, memorials to those who've been killed and threats to enemies. "It's probably no different than any other kids, right?" said Minneapolis police Lt. Jeff Rugel. "They're sharing stuff that they used to do face-to-face or over the phone. But there's criminal stuff." It was this sort of online back and forth between two Minneapolis gangs that helped fuel a series of house shootings last month that culminated in the killing of 5-year-old Nizzel George, according to police. He was found on a sofa in the front room of his grandmother's house, which was struck by a hail of bullets fired from outside. Two teenage boys have been charged with murder in Nizzel's death. Rugel runs the police department's Strategic Information Center, where officers use technology to track crime. One of the jobs in his office amounts to monitoring Facebook full-time. They understand the teen slang and filter through thousands of innocuous and inane comments to look for the few that could solve a crime or stop one before it happens. They try to draw connections out of the Facebook networks to help document the shifting alliances on the street. Police were aware of Facebook threats between rival gangs weeks before the shooting that killed Nizzel, but the threats weren't specific. When Rugel and his staff sees something that looks like trouble -- a known gang member says he's going to hurt someone -- they pass the information along to officers on the street. It's a poorly kept secret that the police watch Facebook, said Rugel. "You see comments every once in a while. 'Don't put that on Facebook. You know who's looking at it,' " he said. Despite some users' occasional concern, many of the Facebook users monitored by police flaunt their illegal behavior online, showing themselves smoking marijuana, posing with stolen merchandise, the security tags still attached, and making gang signs. "I have a prolific shoplifter who posts things on Facebook and says, 'Who wants one?'" said Rugel. A recent comment from one of the people police watch on Facebook had him making general threats against a neighborhood: "I get bored and just want to shoot [things] up, so for the next few days you can be my target practice," wrote the young man, who went on to name a specific neighborhood. A man who was shot Monday morning was photographed by someone who knew him as he was loaded onto the ambulance gurney. The photo appeared on his Facebook page less than an hour after he had been shot. That sort of real-time response makes it harder for police to dampen people's urge to retaliate, said Rugel. Peer-to-peer communication Peering into the gang world on Facebook reveals a sort of peer-to-peer communication that police don't see otherwise. It's a growing phenomenon that's been tracked by police departments elsewhere, according to the latest National Gang Threat Assessment from the FBI. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and specialized websites like allow gangs to recruit and easily communicate with one another, according to the report. "The proliferation of social networking websites has made gang activity more prevalent and lethal -- moving gangs from the streets into cyber space," the National Gang Intelligence Center reported. That's likely true of highly organized gangs, but not everyone's convinced that what's going on in Minneapolis rises to the same level. The lifestyle projected in local gang members' Facebook pages shouldn't be a call to arrest, said Manu Lewis, a co-founder of Criminals and Gang Members Anonymous, Minneapolis chapter. Lewis said some of the photos might be made in jest, and those that are serious should be seen as the product of a young person looking for help.

The BBC is considering making an appeal against a court order which stopped it from broadcasting a dramatized film on last year’s riots in London.

British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. Now in it's third night of unrest, London has seen sporadic outbreaks of looting and clashes both north and south of the river Thames. Numerous buildings were set on fire in Croydon including a 140 year old furniture store as hundreds of looters plundered high street shops of their goods. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

British riot police arrive in front of a burning building in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. Now in it's third night of unrest, London has seen sporadic outbreaks of looting and clashes both north and south of the river Thames. Numerous buildings were set on fire in Croydon including a 140 year old furniture store as hundreds of looters plundered high street shops of their goods. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)


The film, which features actors portraying anonymous rioters sharing their experience of the events, was due to be broadcast on Monday evening, but was banned by a court order hours before hitting the airwaves

Its script was written by award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe and is based on interviews from some 270 people conducted by the Guardian and London School of Economics as part of a study into the massive public disorder.

The first installment of The Riots: In their own Words focuses on rioters, while the second film of the two-part series shares the impressions of police officers on duty at the time.

Both were banned from being broadcast by a court ruling, which BBC lawyers now plan to appeal against, reports the Guardian. The newspaper says for legal reasons it cannot report the name of the judge who made the controversial ruling, the court in which it was done or the case he was presiding over.

Little detail was disclosed on the content of the ruling itself. The British newspaper cites it as saying: "It is ordered that the BBC programme 'The Riots: In their Own Words' due for broadcast on BBC 2 tonight is not broadcast by any media by any means until further order."

The ruling also ordered the BBC to remove a clip promoting the film from its website, which the broadcaster did. The clip, previously available on a blog posted last Friday, featured a BBC producer saying that the "important and illuminating" interviews in the drama would provide insight into "why and how the riots had happened".

After the court ruling arrived the BBC said it would put the program out at a later date. The film was part of the company’s package prepared for the coverage of the one year anniversary of the August 2011 riots in Britain.

What started as peaceful protest in Tottenham erupted into five nights of violence, looting and a subsequent police crackdown. Five people were killed and more than 2,500 shops and businesses damaged. Over a thousand people received jail for their part in the disorder.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Rival Gangs Fueling Violence on Monte Vista Street

The killing of Pedro Morales and the wounding of his brother in a shooting on Monte Vista Street Saturday evening were the latest in a string of violent incidents fueled by rival gangs that have moved into the area, according to police. Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division, who on Monday morning were still in the field, investigating the shooting, confirmed that they believe the killing of Morales to have been gang related. Police have not released the name of Morales' wounded brother. No information on potential suspects has been released yet. Detective Rick Ortiz of the Northeast LAPD Gang Unit said his officers would likely cooperate in the investigation as well.  Ortiz told Patch that the increased violence in the area could be traced to the relocation of rival gang members into the area. [Editor's Note: Patch does not use the names of area gangs in our reporting, so as to not contribute to their local fame.] "What's going on is that we have a gang that for years has been located above York Boulevard and they've migrated down south, converging in that Monte Vista area with another gang," Ortiz said. "Another gang that's been inactive for many years has also had an uprising. We're not sure how they ended up in that area. Families just end up in one area or another. They migrated that way. I don't think that the gang is thinking 'We have to move over in that area;' they just ended up there and started getting active." According to the crime data tracking website, there have been 28 reports of assault with a deadly weapon within the area bounded by Avenue 52, Avenue 59, Monte Vista Street and North Figueroa Street since the start of 2012.  Morales' killing is the first homicide of the year on Monte Vista Street. "I think it's youngsters trying to step up," Ortiz said. "It's typical gang-banging. Someone will spray graffiti, somebody else will cross it out, then it escalates from there." According to the Eastsider L.A., residents in the area had noticed the tagging sign "53" showing up recently, which they reported was new in the area. Among Patch readers who've commented on previous stories about the Morales killing, concerns have been raised about the ability of LAPD to effectively police gang crime in the area. "Actually the police are a part of the problem. LAPD's job is to police the city, and make their presence felt to prevent crime. If LAPD is seen more often, criminals of all sorts will think twice about the crimes they are committing.  Maybe LAPD would witness some of these crimes and catch these people," said Patch commenter Gill. "LAPD's budget increases every year. Yet LAPD patrol officers are being taken off the streets and promoted. The number of LAPD officers on the actual street always stays the same or just barely increases, while they continue to get a bigger budget. I think patrolling our streets is more important than building new police stations and buying new cars every two years." Gill's point about LAPD's budget increasing every year is technically incorrect, as this year's city budget cut funding to the department by $120 million, much of which will come at the expense of overtime pay for patrol officers. But, it also raises an important question about how LAPD prioritizes the allocation of its resources. Ortiz said that the LAPD Northeast Gang Unit was still fully staffed and capable of patrolling the streets of Highland Park. He said there are currently 18 uniformed patrol officers in the unit and 10 detectives. The detectives typically work daytime shifts, Monday through Friday, while the patrol officers rotate schedules seven days a week. Detectives are also available to assist in patrols on nights and weekends, Ortiz said. When asked if his unit had the necessary manpower to patrol gang activity in Highland Park, Ortiz responded: "I'd say yes. If we had more, it'd be better, though. But, our gang unit, for instance, it's not the largest in the city, but we can run seven days a week. There's always a gang officer out there." Ortiz said a bigger problem in combating gang violence in Highland Park was an unwillingness on the behalf of witnesses and victims to report crimes, for fear of retaliation from gang members. "The best thing the residents of that area can do—and they don't really like to do it—is report the crime," Ortiz said. "There's a reluctance to become involved because it's gangs. They don't want to get involved. Witnesses and victims of gang crimes are afraid to come forward." Ortiz said he understood the unwillingness of victims to come forward, but he stressed that community cooperation was an important tool in fighting gang crime, and that it often leads to arrests that take gang members off the streets. He said that LAPD also had the funding necessary to relocate witnesses, should they feel threatened. "Absolutely, when we do get victims who want to come forward, we're able to relocate them, help them out," Ortiz said. "We still get that resource from the state."

Violence Tied to the Boylston and Mozart Street Gangs

Monday's big Jamaica Plain news, that police and prosecutors had arrested much of the leadership of the Boylston Street gang, may come as a relief to neighbors who have lived in fear. Over the years, the Boylston associates often had bloody conflicts with their rival Mozart Street gang. Police stress that while the names of the groups come from two JP streets, the feuding gang members no longer live there. Here is a review of violent incidents police have linked to the conflict between Boylston and Mozart: April 2008: Luis "Mata" Troncoso, 20, an alleged Boylston Street associate, shot and killed on the basketball court near Stony Brook T. October 2008: Garivaldis Peña killed in a shooting on Rossmore Street. August 2010: Two nonfatal shootings in Eglston Square, according to the JP Gazette. Oct. 23, 2010: Boylston Street gang member Luis "Tito" Torres mortally wounded by gunfire on Boylston Street Nov. 21, 2010: Three men mortally wounded in a gun and knife fight inside Same Old Place on Centre Street. Killed were Winsizky Soto, 27 and Johnnel "Bo" Cruz, 20, of Jamaica Plain and Ariel Dume, 20, of Dorchester. A woman going past on Centre Street was grazed by a bullet. November 2010: Amin Marte of the Mozart Street gang killed in the Dominican Republic, according to an affidavit referenced by the JP Gazette. December 2010: Members of the Mozart Street gang practice shooting at a Salisbury gun range. According to the Gazette, police and prosecutors link at least two other homicides and many drug-related crimes to the rival groups.

Tennessee communities are losing the battle against violent gangs.

That's the troubling news from state officials who say the gang problem is definitely getting worse, even in smaller towns. 
Chattanooga is getting ready for an all-out effort to shut them down. 

BOYD PATTERSON, COORDINATOR, GANG TASK FORCE "I think the real story is that in towns with 50-thousand population or less ..gang activity since 2005 has tripled." 

That state report is putting every community, large or small, on alert. 
The insidious and dangerous gangs may be right there where you live. 

BOYD PATTERSON "Progress can be measured in the amount of people, and resources, and direction ..And political will to do something about this that regard..Chattanooga is on the fast track." 

The assessment phase of Patterson's initiative should be completed by August, at which time a community-wide effort, including schools, churches, police and youth leaders will launch. 
The Rev. Ternae Jordan, of the Stop the Madness campaign, is anxious for that to happen.

REV. TERNAE JORDAN, STOP THE MADNESS "Its not a one community problem..if you don't stop or address the issues where they are..they're like cancer...they are going to spread." 

One local organization called "Hope for the Inner city" is running full steam this summer.
The young people were out in force today, planting a garden to provide food for the Harriet Tubman community next fall. 
How does it work?

VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "You can't have the "save the World" mentality. But if you teach one, maybe that one will go out and help 4 or 5 others, and those 4 or 5 others will go out and help 20 others." 

Why does that work? 

DENZEL MONFORD, HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "I kind of want to ask them..why are you joining a gang? You can't get no ain't helping you ...kind of make your family sad...destroying your family." 

VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. "We want to prevent empowering kids..economically and, because I think the gang problem is about money."

The young people who volunteer at Hope for the Inner City, receive a small paycheck at the end of the season.
Funding assistance comes from donors like the Benwood Foundation and the McClelland Foundation.

Gang violence by the numbers: Murders up, aggravated assaults down

DPD statistics show the number of gang-related crimes against people -- a broad category that includes murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, intimidation and sex offenses -- is down overall. Between January 1 and May 31, there were 113 total crimes, down from 145 in 2011, 125 in 2010, 129 in 2009 and 174 in 2008.

More specifically, the number of aggravated assaults -- which includes non-fatal shootings -- has decreased. There were 75 between January and May. The stats from previous years are as follows: 103 in 2011, 93 in 2010, 91 in 2009 and 125 in 2008.

Chief Robert White pointed to those numbers at a community meeting called to discuss gang violence at the Blair-Caldwell Library in Five Points on June 20. Though overall gang crime is slightly down, he warned, "it's not something to where we can boast about it."

In fact, in the wake of several high-profile shootings, much of the community is concerned about gang violence. A month before that meeting, on May 25, four people were shot in broad daylight near the corner of East Bruce Randolph Avenue and York Street. Two of them -- 21-year-old Justin O'Donnell and 30-year-old Deon Rudd -- were pronounced dead at the scene. The police arrested two suspects and classified the murders as gang-related.


rollin oliver fox 31 blurred face.jpg
Rollin Oliver.

On June 24, Denver police officer Celena Holliswas killed in City Park. Rollin Oliver, a 21-year-old who many suspect has gang ties, has been charged with the crime.


There have been several notable non-fatal shootings, as well. On May 17, an argument inside the Taco Bell on the 16th Street Mall ended when a juvenile shot a man in his thirties in the leg. The man lived, and a witness told theDenver Post that the two were from rival gangs and the altercation began with an eye roll. Five days later, a woman was shot in the wrist in an early-evening scuffle between gang members in Park Hill. And just last week, a non-fatal shooting in the Whittier neighborhood led to the arrest of a 26-year-old who the Postreports is a member of the Tre Tre Crips. That's the gang which which Willie Clark, the man convicted of murdering Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, was associated.

The police also keep track of gang-related property crimes and "crimes against society," which include weapons and drug charges. There were 59 gang-related drug violations between January and May this year, and 47 weapons violations. Last year, those numbers were 54 and 46 for the same five-month time period. Meanwhile, gang-related property crimes have been decreasing since 2008, when there were 157 between January and May. This year, there were 87 during that time; last year, there were 85.

At that June 20 meeting, White reassured the more than 100 attendees that "things are not on pace" to become another "Summer of Violence," referring to a time in 1993 when widespread concern about gangs led to new youth programs and tougher laws. But he didn't make light of the issue, either. He said the DPD studies crime patterns, and if officers notice crime increasing in a certain neighborhood, they also increase patrols.

"We try to put the bodies where the crimes are," Whtie said.

A Russian billionaire with links to Britain’s political elite was yesterday accused of an extraordinary litany of crimes, ranging from reneging on a business deal to ordering a murder.

In a bitter £650million legal battle at the High Court, aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska was alleged to have ties to brutal organised crime gangs which emerged after the collapse of Communism in the former Soviet Union.

He vehemently denies the allegations – revealed in legal papers filed as part of the case – and counter-claimed that he was the victim of an ‘old-fashioned protection racket’ run by the Mafia-style gangs.

Mr Deripaska, who has links to Chancellor George Osborne and former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, said he had been forced to pay more than half a billion dollars to the gangs over seven years and had feared for his safety and that of his family.

The case is potentially embarrassing for politicians in Britain and Russia. Mr Deripaska, 44, has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in 2008 he entertained Lord Mandelson and Mr Osborne, then Shadow Chancellor, on his yacht in Corfu.

The High Court case is set against the backdrop of Russia’s bloody ‘aluminium wars’ in the 1990s, when organised crime groups struggled for control of its immense resources.

Billionaire Michael Cherney, 60, claims he struck a business deal with the young Deripaska in 1994, in which he agreed to use his political influence to help him in return for a stake in his aluminium business.




The company went on to become part of Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium firm, and Mr Cherney claims Mr Deripaska then offered to buy his stake in 2001 in a deal worth $1billion (£650million), but paid him only $250million (£160million).

Mr Deripaska claims the deal, hammered out at the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in London, was a ‘sham’ to disguise his $250million payment to terminate an extortion deal imposed on him by Mr Cherney since 1995.

Lawyers for the tycoon claim he was placed under a protection deal known as a ‘krysha’, a Russian word meaning roof which is slang for protection.

Michael Cherney and Oleg Depripaska are the two men at the centre of this legal dispute

Lawyers for Mr Deripaska claim Mr Cherney is a criminal who was involved with two organised crime networks and extorted payments from businesses.

In written arguments submitted to the court, his lawyer Thomas Beazley QC said: ‘[Mr Deripaska] was a young man in charge of a major plant in Siberia, which was far away from big cities and where organised crime reigned.

‘The police were weak and Mr Deripaska was now an obvious target for gangsters and subjected to death threats. He had to take the threat from organised crime gangs very seriously.’ 

Mr Beazley said: ‘Mr Cherney explained that unless Mr Deripaska accepted the krysha, anything could happen: one cannot wear a bullet-proof vest all the time.’ 

Lord Mandelson was a guest on Mr Deripaska's yacht in Corfu in 2008

Lord Mandelson was a guest on Mr Deripaska's yacht in Corfu in 2008

Lawyers for Mr Cherney said he had never been convicted of any criminal offence and insisted he had been a legitimate business partner in Rusal. 

In their legal submissions, they said prosecutors in Israel, the US and Russia had been told that Mr Deripaska was a member of an organised criminal gang and had ordered the murder of a Russian banker in 1995.

Mr Cherney’s lawyer Mark Howard QC said: ‘Mr Deripaska has a particular status in modern life. He is one of the richest and most influential men in Russia with close ties to President Putin.’ 

In written submissions, he added: ‘His power cannot be overstated. No doubt for that reason he feels that even history must bow to his whim.’ 

Mr Deripaska and Mr Cherney have both faced criminal allegations but neither man has been convicted of any offence.

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for Mr Deripaska said: ‘Mr Deripaska vehemently denies these allegations.’ 

The case is being tried in Britain after the Court of Appeal backed a ruling that Mr Cherney should be protected from the risk of assassination or arrest.

He has said he would be an assassination target if he returned to Russia, and he will give his evidence by videolink from his home in Israel because of an outstanding arrest warrant relating to a money-laundering investigation in Spain, where he is wanted for questioning.

None of the key players attended yesterday’s hearing. Lawyers for both sides are expected to set out their arguments this week and the case will then be adjourned until September when witnesses will be called.

Parts of the case have been ruled so sensitive that judge Mr Justice Andrew Smith has allowed some witnesses to give evidence anonymously. 

The hearing continues.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Beware of missed call to check SIM cloning

Next time if you get a missed call starting with +92; #90 or #09, don't show the courtesy of calling back because chances are it would lead to your SIM card being cloned. The telecom service providers are now issuing alerts to subscribers —particularly about the series mentioned above as the moment one press the call button after dialing the above number, someone at the other end will get your phone and SIM card cloned. According to reports, more than one lakh subscribers have fallen prey to this new telecom terror attack as the frequency of such calls continues to grow. Intelligence agencies have reportedly confirmed to the service providers particularly in UP West telecom division that such a racket is not only under way but the menace is growing fast. "We are sure there must be some more similar combinations that the miscreants are using to clone the handsets and all the information stored in them," an intelligence officer told TOI. General Manager (GM) BSNL, RV Verma, said the department had already issued alerts to all the broadband subscribers and now alert SMSes were being issued to other subscribers as well. As per Rakshit Tandon, an IT expert who also teaches at the police academy (UP), the crooks can use other combination of numbers as well while making a call. "It is better not to respond to calls received from unusual calling numbers," says Tandon. "At the same time one should avoid storing specifics of their bank account, ATM/ Credit/Debit card numbers and passwords in their phone memory because if one falls a prey to such crooks then the moment your cell phone or sim are cloned, the data will be available to the crooks who can withdraw amount from your bank accounts as well," warns Punit Misra; an IT expert who also owns a consultancy in Lucknow. The menace that threatens to steal the subscriber's information stored in the phone or external memory (sim, memory & data cards) has a very scary side as well. Once cloned, the culprits can well use the cloned copy to make calls to any number they wish to. This exposes the subscribers to the threat of their connection being used for terror calls. Though it will be established during the course of investigations that the cellphone has been cloned and misused elsewhere, it is sure to land the subscriber under quite some pressure till the time the fact about his or her phone being cloned and misused is established, intelligence sources said. "It usually starts with a miss call from a number starting with + 92. The moment the subscriber calls back on the miss call, his or her cell phone is cloned. In case the subscribers takes the call before it is dropped as a miss call then the caller on the other end poses as a call center executive checking the connectivity and call flow of the particular service provider. The caller then asks the subscriber to press # 09 or # 90 call back on his number to establish that the connectivity to the subscriber was seamless," says a victim who reported the matter to the BSNL office at Moradabad last week. "The moment I redialed the caller number, my account balance lost a sum of money. Thereafter, in the three days that followed every time I got my cell phone recharged, the balance would be reduced to single digits within the next few minutes," she told the BSNL officials.

France brings in breathalyser law

New motoring laws have come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles. As of July 1, motorists and motorcyclists will face an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices as part of a government drive to reduce the number of drink-drive related deaths. The new regulations, which excludes mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreigner drivers from November 1 following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine. French police have warned they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via ferries and through the Channel Tunnel to enforce the new rules. Retailers in the UK have reported a massive rise in breathalyser sales as British drivers travelling across the Channel ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation. Car accessory retailer Halfords said it is selling one kit every minute of the day and has rushed extra stock into stores to cope with the unprecedented demand. Six out of 10 Britons travelling to France are not aware they have to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times, according to the company. The French government hopes to save around 500 lives a year by introducing the new laws, which will encourage drivers who suspect they may be over the limit to test themselves with the kits. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - substantially less than the UK limit of 80mg.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The number of Britons arrested overseas is on the rise, official figures have shown.

 The Foreign Office (FO) handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals abroad between April 2011 and March 2012. This was 6% more than in the previous 12 months and included a 2% rise in drug arrests. The figures, which include holidaymakers and Britons resident overseas, showed the highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain (1,909) followed by the USA (1,305). Spanish arrests rose 9% in 2011/12, while the United States was up 3%. The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US (147), followed by Spain (141). The highest percentage of arrests for drugs in 2011/12 was in Peru where there were only 17 arrests in total, although 15 were for drugs. The FO said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus. Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. "The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system. "We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison."

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