"We are going to do everything to forbid people from coming in with guns. We're going to have metal detectors like you see in airports."
Wagih Khoury, Director, Hotel Danube in Bratislava
On September 24, an unknown assailant strolled in and shot two men in the Hotel Danube's groundfloor Amadeus bar, killing one and seriously injuring the other. After the incident, the suspect ran away through a nearby park on Hviezdoslavovo námestie, according to eyewitnesses. According to one eyewitness who was in the hotel at the time of the incident, the two victims were dealing with some paperwork when the man walked into the door and opened fire. One man was shot in the chest and died immediately. The other was shot in the face, just below the eye, the eyewitness said.
He was identified as 27-year-old Róbert H., who according to police sources, was considered one of the strongest figures in the Košice underworld. While Róbert H. escaped death thanks to emergency surgery performed at Bratislava's Kramáre hospital, he was far from safe.
That's because as he lay in his hospital bed recuperating from the surgery, an assailant wearing a ski-mask snuck to Róbert H.'s hospital window via a nearby roof around 2 a.m on October 5 and machine-gunned him to death. The gun, equipped with a silencer, was manufactured in Yugoslavia. After the first shooting, the U.S. Embassy circulated an internal document, forbidding American government officials who are in Bratislava temporarily (TDY) from staying at the Hotel Danube.
"Until we are confident that adequate measures have been taken to ensure the safety of visitors at the hotel,... the U.S. Embassy will no longer lodge TDY personnel at the Danube Hotel," the statement reads. "For the same reason, no official Embassy functions will be scheduled at the Danube." The Embassy is not blaming the hotel, though.
"It's not the Danube management's fault," said an embassy spokesperson. "It's the Mafia's move to town. This happens in other countries, but if there are hotels there like this, the same [regulation] would be [adopted]."
"Unfortunately, this problem is not particular to the Hotel Danube," said Wagih Khoury, the Hotel Danube's director. "The problem is much bigger, it's Slovakia. I mean, if you have people shot dead in hospitals, where else can you feel secure? I can tell you, I don't feel any more insecure in my hotel than I do anywhere else in Bratislava."
Khoury said that the hotel is ill-equipped to fight the Mafia, adding that the only thing he can ensure is that customers won't carry guns inside the hotel. "We are going to do everything to forbid people from coming in with guns," he said.
"It's not nice to see, but we're also going to have metal detectors like you see in airports," Khoury continued. "We are going to have a safe outside, so a person who carries a gun will have to put it to the safe and than can take the gun back when leaving the hotel."
9. Oct 1997 at 0:00 | Daniel Borský