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Around Slovakia

Wheel-chair beggars learn to walk
Footballer questioned about drug possesion
Mečiar elected Man of the Year 2000

Trnava
Wheel-chair beggars learn to walk

Police in Trnava revealed that a local wheel-chair begger was a fake, exploiting the generosity of local citizens to make a small fortune, said the Trnava police press department on February 8.
The beggar sat in a wheelchair in front of the Jednota department store and stuck his hand out for money from passersby. However, town police officers noticed that the man had mud on his shoes, and upon further investigation found that he had a forged medical certificate. The begger was then taken to the police station for further proceedings.
He had managed to collect 4,000 Slovak crowns that day before noon.
On February 12, TV Markíza carried a report of another fake beggar in Banksá Bystrica, this time a 20 year-old woman, who was also found by police to be misrepresenting her health. After becoming suspicious that the woman's legs looked too healthy to be crippled, police took her to a nearby hospital where an examination revealed that she in fact was suffering from no physical disability.
Upon discovery, the woman revealed that she had used the ruse to make money to support herself, her two children and her mother.
Police said the phenomenon of fake beggars was becoming increasingly common in Slovakia. "We've already had bogus wheelchair beggars, blind people, even a man with one hand [who was hiding his healthy limb inside his jacket sleeve]," said a police spokeswoman for the daily paper Sme.


Bratislava
Footballer questioned about drug possesion

19-year-old Marek K., a player for Inter Bratislava, the top Slovak soccer team this season, was among four youngsters detained by police in connection with drug possesion after a routine stop and search of a Mercedes in the centre of Bratislava on February 8.
One of the foursome, 19 year-old Norbert.K., handed over 39.3 grams of cocaine, worth about 300,000 Slovak crowns on the black market, which was hidden under the car seat. Inter officials announced that their player had acted only as a witness in the case, although this hasn't yet been confirmed by police.
If found guilty of the drug possesion, the young football player faces up to eight years in prison.


Bratislava
Mečiar elected Man of the Year 2000

The chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and three-time Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar received the title Man of the Year 2000 from the Oklamčák Production Agency and Výstavníctvo a.s., based on the results of readership polls in which he reportedly gained 1,666 out of 7,500 total votes.
After the results of polls were published, Mečiar told the daily paper Slovenská Republika that he was surpprised that he had won because polls had been held among media whose readers were not pro-HZDS oriented.
Second place was grabbed by independent MP and chairman of the new Smer political party Róbert Fico with 931 votes, followed by HZDS supporter and a famous Slovak singer Jožo Ráž with 738 votes. Current Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda gained 368 votes. President Rudolf Schuster took 10th place on 253 votes. This year is the first year the Oklamčák poll has been held.
The Oklamčak agency is also renowned as the organiser of the Miss Slovakia competition.


Compiled by Peter Barecz from TASR and press reports

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