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Published: December 16th 2007
Beggers in Stockholm are often organized one way or the other. Here the organization uses a child. That's awful...
From mass murder to plutonium factory
Sweden is a very safe country to live and travel in. But of course we have our share of problems too. Since we published one blog entry with the upside Stockholm we would like to balance things and publish one entry focused on the rough and uncut facets of this gem of the Baltic Sea we call Stockholm. We hope you will find this interesting too.
Like in virtually all major cities in the World there are homeless people in Stockholm. They are usually not very visible but if you know where to look they are easy to spot.
I the last couple of years beggars have appeared in Stockholm. Before they were virtually non-existing but now they are very common. However, it is very obvious that the majority of the beggars are foreigners who are here for the sole purpose of begging. Whether the beggars are victims or if they are here by free will is hard to know. We don't have any proof but we believe some kind of mafia group in Eastern Europe or Russia brings the beggars here en masse and run a begging business. Either that
This is not a game, this is a scam. The game is rigged so that anyone entering the game can only loose. If you ever visit Stockholm. Avoid these games!
or the beggars are franchise holders from Begging Inc. It must be something like that because we have noticed that the begging is highly organised. The beggars clearly work in teams dividing the city between them. Some of them tell sad stories about relatives being ill and that they are raising money to cover hospital bills. It's just that all the stories are too similar to be a coincidence. They are obviously all fake. Anyway, it is sad to see these people in town, especially when the beggars are children.
But still the beggars are pretty harmless. There are other "influences" from Eastern Europe that are more annoying - the scam gamblers. Each summer they appear on the main tourist streets in Stockholm running their theft and gamble operation. They have a blanket with three boxes. Beneath one of the boxes they have a small ball and they want people to gamble money on where the ball is hidden. The thing is, it's a trick. There is no way you can win against these guys because there is no ball. The guy with the game only pretends to hide the ball under a box but instead he is hiding
Gambling scam sign
The scam sadly enough works in spite of these signs. Remember "street gamblers" are always thieves no matter where you go. You can't win against them. They have rigged the game.
it in his hand. When the gambler picks a box he obviously picks an empty one because all of them are empty. When the ball seems to appears from one of the other boxes, it really comes from his hand. It's not a game, it's a scam set up to rid people of money. The guy with the game usually also has some friends in the audience whose job is to pick other tourists' pockets when they stop to watch the game. So just passing by these scam gamblers make you a target for them. This year the scam gamblers met some opposition though. The police were targeting them and making it difficult for them to run their scam. But we are afraid that they will still come back next year.
There are drugs in Stockholm of course and that is always a problem. One of the spots where most drugs are being sold each day is Sergel's Square
. In fact Sergel's Square is not only a supermarket for illegal substances it is also a strong competitor for the title "the ugliest spot in Stockholm". It's not a place where we like to hang around unless we have to.
The murder of Olof Palme is still unsolved
In 1986 Olof Palme was shot down in Stockholm. As of today the case remains unsolved.
If Sergel's Square is "the ugliest spot in Stockholm" a good runner up is the Slussen Area
. It's basically a traffic hub connecting the Old Town and the Southern District. The place is dirty, its concrete structures are falling apart, there is graffiti sprayed all over the place and it's another place where you don't linger unless you have to.
In 1986 the dark side of Stockholm was exposed in the news worldwide when the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme
was murdered in central Stockholm. The drug addict and small time criminal Christer_Pettersson
was later convicted of the murder. But the sentence was overturned on appeal for lack of evidence. Today this crime remain unsolved and it is likely to stay unsolved.
In 2003 another politician was murdered in central Stockholm. Only about three blocks away from the spot where Palme had been gunned down 17 years earlier the Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh
was stabbed a number of times in her torso and abdomen. She was rushed to hospital and medical personal started operating on her immediately. But in spite of the combined force of several teams of doctors her life could not be saved. News papers later reported
The man who murdered prime minister Olof Palme was last seen running up these stairs.
that her blood loss was so large that the entire blood reserve in Stockholm was down to zero when she died. However this time the murderer was caught on tape by several surveillance cameras. In January 2004 Mijailo Mijailović
was given a life sentence for the murder. Later he was found to be suffering from a mental illness and therefore he is now in a hospital for criminally insane.
Other violent crimes in recent years include a spree killer incident in December 1994. Two young men, Tommy Zethraeus and Guillermo Marques Jara, had been refused to enter a night club called Sturecompagniet. They left the club but arrived a few hours later armed with an automatic rifle. Tommy Zethraeus started shooting into the crowds at the front door to the night club, killing four and injuring 20.
But the old days in Stockholm could get violent too. In 1520 around 100 people were decapitated in what today is known as Stockholm Bloodbath
. The massacre took place in the main sqare in the Old Town of Stockholm. Eyewitnesses said that the streets were painted red by blood, hence the name of the incident. It was the Danish king Christian II who
Site of the murder of Anna Lindh
Inside this house the former Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was murdered in 2003
ordered the executions after he had invaded Sweden. Christian II is in Sweden because of his involvement in Stockholm Bloodbath known as Christian the Tyrant.
When it comes to terrorist activities we have in recent years been fortunate here in Sweden because we haven't seen much of that. But in 1975 the West German embassy was occupied
by the terrorist group Red Army Faction
. Before the police eventually stormed the embassy two of the hostages had been executed and the terrorists had also set off a large detonation inside the building. In the chaos that followed the explosion two of the terrorists were killed.
Believe it or not, but there is actually an old factory for production of weapons plutonium just outside Stockholm. It is called Ågesta Nuclear Power Plant
and in truth it was more of an experiment than an actual plutonium producer. For a while in the 50-ies and 60-ies Sweden had a kind of program for development of weapons of mass destruction. Please don't tell George W Bush about this. He would go absolutely ballistic if he found out. This program never got much further than research really and the entire program was shut down in 1970 or so. The reactor outside Stockholm was
In this house the RAF set a terrorist attack into action.
one of four reactors built as part of this research program. Officially it was a peaceful nuclear program but it is a well-known fact that there was also a hidden agenda - to find out how to make nuclear weapons so we could kick Soviet ass if we had to. Construction of a fifth reactor, The Marviken Reactor, was in progress when the program ended in 1970. The Marviken Reactor is today an Oil Power Plant.
Another reactor built as part of the program for development of weapons of mass destruction was a research reactor at the Royal University of Technology. The reactor was closed in 1970 and was later dismantled. The reactor hall is sometimes open for public since it is used for exhibitions and concerts.
The official reason for constructing the Ågesta Nuclear Power Plant was to supply hot water for a nearby town. Some people claim that there never were any plans to produce weapon plutonium in Ågesta. The reactor was too small and the construction was not optimized for plutonium production. But there is some strong evidence against these arguments. One is the fact that using a Nuclear Power Plant to produce hot water
Norrmalmstorg robbery site
In this house the Norrmalmstorg Robbery took place. An event that went to history for the origin of the Stockholm syndrome.
is not very efficient. Today we burn garbage and that is both cheaper and better. Another is the fact that Ågesta Nuclear Power Plant had a very serious incident in 1969 and was then very close to a nuclear meltdown. This incident was hushed down and no news about it was released until 1993. Our experience tells us that serious nuclear incidents are hushed down only when the military wants to keep it quiet. So if is true that Ågesta Nuclear Power Plant couldn't produce any useful amounts of plutonium it's more of an evidence of the lack of knowledge of the Swedish engineers and physicists than an evidence of the peaceful nature of the Swedish nuclear program.
On August 8 1993 an airshow took place in central Stockholm. As a part of this event The Swedish Air Force flew the new fighter plane JAS 39 Gripen
. In mid flight the pilot lost control over the plane and seconds later the plane crashed. The pilot ejected and landed unharmed and by pure luck the plane crashed on a spot where very few people were standing so only a few spectators were injured. The pilot later said in an interview that when
Spree killer murdering four and injuring 20
Outside the entrance to this nightclub Tommy Zethraeus and Guillermo Marques Jara ran amok with an automatic rifle killing four and injuring 20.
he realised he was going to crash he looked around and everywhere he looked there were people. His first thought then was not to eject but follow the plane down and commit suicide. If the plane goes down among the people and kill hundreds he couldn't live with it. When he looked again he saw one spot, one only, where there were no people. Only when he realised that the plane would crash right there, right at the only spot where there were no people standing, did he eject.
What we are about to write about now we're not sure if it really belongs in this entry on the blog or not. Well it has to do with a robbery going wrong so it's not wrong to put it here after all. In August 1973 a man walked into a bank in the Northern District of Stockholm with the purpose of robbing it
. It wasn't the first time he robbed a bank but this time things didn't quite go as planned. Before he managed to get away the police showed up forcing the robber to retreat into the bank. He took four people hostage and barricaded himself in the bank.
One of the ugliest places in town is the Sergel's Square. Usually home of drug addicts and other shady characters
For five days the robbers stayed with the hostages before the police eventually went to attack. When the hostages were interviewed later it turned out that they had developed sympathy for the robbers. This is now known as the Stockholm syndrome
On December 11 2010 Stockholm was the target of a Suicide Attack
. The attack itself failed completely since the suicide bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, only managed to kill himself but nobody else.
In 1976 German terrorists planned to kidnap Anna-Greta Leijon
, minister in the Swedish government. The secret police managed to stop their plans. Had the terrorists carried out their plans
they would have held her hostage at the address Katarina Bangata 55.
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