Father and son murderers caught
Trnava police arrested a 39 year-old man and his 19 year-old son on February 23 for the murder of the father's 29 year-old business partner, who was also married to the elder murderer's half-sister. Police said the murder weapon was a CZ 85 Luger 9 millimetre handgun.
The murderer and the victim jointly owned an auto service shop in Trnava, but had a stormy relationship. Their quarrelling had recently grown so severe that the men drew a line down the middle of the service shop to mark their personal territories.
After shooting the victim, police said, the father and son put the body in the trunk of a Volkswagen Golf belonging to a Macedonian citizen. They stole the victim's mobile telephone, jewellery and handgun and abandoned the body and the car.
The father and son then cleaned up all traces of evidence at the auto shop, but were caught by police when they gave differing testimonies. Murder carries a sentence of 12 to 15 years in Slovakia.
Loan shark busted for usury
Police investigators filed charges of usury against 34-year old Ivan D. from Krompachy, a predominantly Roma city from which several families have sought asylum abroad over the last year. Ivan D. was accused of lending money to 11 local citizens from 1998 until February 2000 and then demanding the return of twice the lent amount.
Jarmila Petrová, a spokesperson for the regional police, said that all the victims were from Krompachy. The police uncovered evidence documenting Ivan D.'s 'business activity' during a search of his home on February 24.
Heroin smuggler caught at border
Slovak customs officers caught a Slovak citizen attempting to smuggle 4.8 kilograms of heroin into Austria at the Petržalka-Berg border crossing on February 23. The street value of the seized heroin was estimated at 51 million Slovak crowns ($1.2 million).
The culprit was driving a Peugeot 406. Officers found the heroin in a specially-built compartment in the trunk which officers had to open with a saw. The heroin had been divided into 10 packages and was estimated to have been enough for 170,000 'fixes' in total.
Former Communist boss Biľak to be charged
Bratislava regional prosecutors announced on February 15 that they were preparing a draft indictment against Vasil Biľak, a former top-ranking communist official who allegedly wrote the infamous 'letter of invitation' for Warsaw Pact troops to crush the 1968 Prague Spring uprising. Biľak was reported to have delivered the invitation in person to Leonid Brezhnev, the highest ranking Soviet official at the time, in August 1968. The main charge against Biľak will be high treason.
Biľak, now 82 and living in Bratislava, denies having invited the Soviet troops, saying that he merely briefed the Russians on the internal political situation in Czechoslovakia. Prosecutors said that they had compiled over 500 pages of evidence in preparation for the trial, but that they expect the final total of pages to number in the thousands.
Róbert Fico is most trusted politician
According to a recent poll conducted by the Názory polling agency, the founding father of the Smer (direction) political party, Róbert Fico, is the most trusted Slovak politician. The poll was held between February 12 and 20 among 1,357 respondents.
When asked to list the three politicians they trusted the most, 27.2% said Fico. In second place was Vladimír Mečiar, three time Slovak Prime Minister and chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), with 22.6%, while President Rudolf Schuster finished third with 13.5%.
Compiled by Chris Togneri from TASR and press reports