Police in Bulgaria stage operation against flashy road hogs, raid night clubs
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on February 27 2016 that a large-scale police operation had been carried out in capital city Sofia and in cities across the country against dangerous show-off driving, including by people using pushy private security and escort cars.
The statement came in the days after Bulgarian media and social networks were preoccupied with a case in which four men who had been travelling in a shiny black 4×4 seriously assaulted another motorist and his spouse.
The four men, filmed using metal rods to assault the motorist, are in custody facing hooliganism charges, but the story has brought to the fore public frustration at road-hog and thuggish behaviour by motorists who drive aggressively and at high speed on Bulgaria’s motorways and main roads.
It is the kind of behaviour associated with those known as “mutri”, gangster types notorious for their arrogant conduct, especially on the roads, and whose trademark is luxury 4×4 vehicles.
In recent days, Bulgarian authorities have been keen to try to portray themselves as determined to crack down on such behaviour.
On February 26, Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov held a special meeting with Interior Ministry chief secretary Georgi Kostov and national police head Hristo Terziyski, billed as directed at strengthening control over public order and security, and announced as being in response to the well-publicised assault case on Sofia’s Ring Road.
Tsatsarov said that authorities tended to act post facto, and a new approach was needed, including what he said would be large-scale checks of people using private security in a way that did not comply with the Private Security Business Act.
He said that there would be inspections of firearms possessed by security companies and said that he and the two other officials had discussed changes to regulations, including the possibility of mandatory registration of security escort vehicles.
The Interior Ministry February 27 statement said in the course of the operation, ordered by chief secretary Kostov and beginning the night before, 61 vehicles had been inspected and 38 breaches of the Road Traffic Act found.
The statement said that in Sofia, 45 establishments had been checked, as had 321 people, of whom 23 had police records.
In a night club in Studentski Grad, two minors had been found. Law enforcement officers had issued 11 citations, including for breaches of the law on identity documents, two for drink-driving, and had issued penalties for illegal parking and failure to wear a seat belt. Five vehicles had been confiscated to be taken to the traffic police parking lot.
The statement also listed police actions in inspecting restaurants, cars, nightclubs and individuals in Plovdiv, Bourgas, Varna, Blagoevgrad and Sandanski, saying that breaches of the law had been found ranging from drink-driving, drug possession and the presence of minors in night clubs.
(Photos: Interior Ministry press centre)