A Prague court has served exceptionally high two-to-three year sentences to a gang of highly organized Romanian nationals who pick-pocketed in the vicinity of Prague Castle. The gang all came from the same village in Romania and operated successfully in Prague for several years before the police had enough evidence to file charges. Their victims were mainly unsuspecting tourists. The police presented a vast amount of evidence against them in court, including phone conversations where they spoke openly about their activities and undercover policemen who had been posted around Prague Castle.
Police chiefs from a number of European capitals have gathered in Prague for a conference on fighting pickpockets, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Prague police complain that Czech prosecutors are reluctant to remand pickpockets, who often leave the country after arrest. Police chief Petr Zelasko also said his officers were trying to persuade judges that pickpockets were often not individual criminals but members of organised gangs. The conference runs until Thursday.
This week in Mailbox: We look at where you can get a good Czech version of Bedrich Smetana's Ma Vlast. Mr Topolanek's less than civil behaviour has also drawn your ire and we also hear about the impact of increased police security on Prague's metro system. Listeners quoted: Bezazel Feraht ben Rabah, Mike Bruce, Lynda-Marie Hauptman, Aloisie Krasny, Consuelo Nguyen and Colin Rose.
The number of pickpocketings in the country's second biggest city Brno is rising dramatically. Police have recorded 2,100 cases since January, 400 cases more than last year. The thefts this year have so far amounted to 11 million crowns (a little under half a million US dollars). Most of them take place in department stores, in the vicinity of the train station, and on trams.
The leading British insurance company Norwich Union has carried out a survey of theft and personal safety in various holiday destinations around the globe. It doesn't make very positive reading for the Czech authorities: according to Norwich Union, you're more likely to have your pocket picked in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the world. Dawn McMullan is the company's travel project manager:
This week: The winner of our October competition; Radio Prague's special October 28 programme; St Vitus' Cathedral; street crime in the Czech Republic; new competition question for November. Listeners quoted: Nadia Alkon, Israel; Teodor Shepertycki, Canada; Victor Ling, Canada; Andrew H. Dral, US; Evelyn Coviello, US; David Eldridge, UK; Colin Law, New Zealand.