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Romanian Roma flagging people down at Czech-German border crossing

Cínovec, 30.7.2011 17:54, (ROMEA)

Police report that locals are complaining to them daily about a group of Roma from Romania who are moving around near the Cínovec border crossing in Teplice district trying to sell drivers jewelry. The Mediafax Agency reports that so far the Romanian citizens have not broken any laws and that they are on Czech territory legally.

"People are calling to tell us that Romani people are standing - or rather, jumping around - on the side of the road, doing their best to stop the cars, and when they succeed, they try to get money out of the drivers. They either ask for money for car repairs or gas, or they offer jewelry for sale that is allegedly made of gold. Police patrols drive out to monitor these groups several times a day - they can't do much more than just check up on them. The Roma are EU citizens and are here legally, we have not managed to prove that they are breaking any laws. They change their base of operations very frequently. Most recently a 40-member group was seen at Cínovec on the German side of the border," police spokesperson Ilona Novotná told Mediafax.

Some people stopped by the foreigners described their experiences to news server iDNES.cz. "They claim to have run out of gas, to need just enough money to get across the border to where their acquaintances are waiting for them. One of them took off a ring he was wearing and offered to sell it to me - allegedly a gold ring that was his grandmother's. I refused and they left," said a man who was stopped by the foreigners on the highway before the Bílka turnoff heading toward Velemín.

Another woman who thought she was saving money by buying a "gold" chain very cheaply complained to the police that it turned out to be a worthless brass chain she had bought for CZK 1 000. Police are warning motorists not to buy jewelry of dubious origin and value. "People should generally take care when encountering strangers so as not to risk the danger of being robbed," police spokesperson Ilona Novotná told Mediafax.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Mediafax, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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