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Two alleged bus attacks investigated as attempted hijackings

Two alleged attacks on bus drivers earlier this month are being investigated as attempted hijackings rather than traffic endangerment, according to police.

Poliisin logo Turun pääpoliisilaitoksen seinässä.
File photo of Finnish police logo. Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle

Finnish police said on Thursday that investigators have examined the course of events in two separate incidents of a bus passenger allegedly attacking drivers while on the road.

Authorities said the cases are both being investigated as hijacking, a charge which carries a more severe penalty than traffic endangerment, which was how the cases were initially being investigated.

Both incidents took place at the beginning of December - one in western Finland's Loimaa municipality and the other in Uurainen, a municipality in the centre of the country.

No one was injured in either incident, as the drivers were able to stop the buses after other passengers intervened.

Police said that interviews with each of the suspects - men in their 30s -- revealed that they both appeared to be disoriented when they interfered with the drivers. Investigators are still looking into what caused the suspects' confusion, according to police.

Two similar incidents

The first incident took place in Loimaa on 4 December, when a man allegedly grabbed the vehicle's steering wheel, causing the bus to veer into the opposite lane and struck another vehicle. The bus was within Loimaa's city limits and travelling at a speed of about 35 km/h.

The second incident, which took place in Uurainen the next day on 5 December, another man allegedly started acting aggressively and rushed toward the driver and grabbed his wrist. As the incident began the bus was going about 80 km/h.

During police interviews, both suspects reportedly gave their own accounts of the incidents, but police said they had not uncovered motives for either of them.

Police also said they have found no evidence that there was a connection between the two incidents, nor have they found evidence that the men knew each other.

According to police, both suspects have foreign backgrounds but are not from the same country. Police said they have received queries regarding the suspects' asylum status, but citing privacy laws said they were unable to answer such questions.

The men both are being held in remand custody.

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