NBI: No German link in Helsinki train station incident

The detective chief inspector of the National Board of Investigation says a preliminary probe has revealed no links between a case in Germany involving a large group of about one-thousand men robbing and molesting women, and another incident that took place in Finland at the New Year.

Thomas Elfgren
NBI Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Elfgren. Image: Yle

On Thursday Helsinki police said they saw similarities between the incident in Cologne, Germany involving a large group of men robbing and molesting women, and one that took place in Helsinki on New Year's Eve.

But the NBI's detective chief inspector Thomas Elfgren said that there was no reason to believe the incidents were connected.

"There is nothing that indicates that there was a planned a wave of harassment like the one which occurred in Cologne, Germany on New Year's Eve," Elfgren said, apparently playing down the issue.

Elfgren was responding to statements by Helsinki police and Interior Minister Petteri Orpo which voiced suspicion that the incidents on New Year's Eve in the two cities were somehow connected or similar in nature.

Elfgren is leading the preliminary investigation of the arrest of six Iraqi citizen asylum seekers at a refugee reception centre in Kirkkonummi on December 31, 2015. The men were released right after the New Year.

"No plans for robbery and assault"

"During our preliminary investigation, we have seen nothing that would lead us to believe that the men had large-scale plans of robbery and assault, like the ones which took place in Cologne," Elfgren said.

Regarding the six arrests, Elfgren said that police acted on the information they had at the time.

The NBI has been in contact with German law enforcement to determine if the six Iraqis had been in contact with participants involved in the incident in Cologne.

"We have not received such information," Elfgren said.

New Year's Eve in Helsinki

On Thursday, Finnish police announced that about one thousand Iraqi asylum seekers had gathered at the Helsinki railway station tunnel during the course of New Year's Eve.

Acting on a tip they received before festivities began, police removed dozens of people from the area and several were detained that night.

Three cases of assault were reported to police - two of which resulted in criminal complaints.

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