Finland, Sweden examine sex assault charges mirroring German cases

Police in Finland and Sweden said Friday they were investigating several criminal complaints from women who say they were sexually attacked on New Year's Eve, in incidents similar to German cases that have caused widespread uproar.

In the Finnish capital of Helsinki, police said they have received three complaints of sexual harassment, police chief Ilkka Koskimaki told dpa.

The probe centred on incidents that took place near the main railway station, where about 1,000 asylum seekers joined other revellers.

Police had been tipped off about possible disturbances from the Finnish Migration Authority and posted more officers in central Helsinki.

"We deployed a lot of police officers to control the situation. Most were very peaceful and behaved well," he added.

Three suspects were briefly held, but have been released, he said.

In a separate incident, six men at a refugee centre in Helsinki were taken into custody on New Year's Eve on suspicion of inciting criminal activity, but details were sketchy.

"Maybe we will never find out what was really planned," Koskimaki said.

Meanwhile, police in the south-eastern Swedish city of Kalmar said they were investigating at least eight complaints of sexual harassment targeting 15 young women aged 16 to 20.

“We know more young women have been affected and have asked them to file complaints," spokesman Johan Bruun told dpa.

Mobile phone footage and photos have been received by police.

The incidents saw men touching the women's breasts at Larmtorget Square in Kalmar where the New Year’s celebrations were held, but also in one restaurant at the square.

Two men - born 1983 and 1996, both asylum seekers - are under investigation for sexual harassment. Both have denied the allegations, Bruun said.

He added that the investigation began Thursday and there were no reports of any thefts or aggravated assault.

Both Finland and Sweden last year saw a strong rise in the numbers of people seeking asylum.

Last update: Fri, 08/01/2016 - 12:57

More from Europe

Dutch populist Wilders guilty of hate speech - but no penalty imposed

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech for leading a chant against Moroccans...

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a...

Police say 98 clubs impacted in child abuse investigations

Police say 98 clubs are impacted and 83 potential suspects have been identified in allegations of non-recent child...

One in six workers in EU earns low wages, according to report

Nearly one in every six employees in the European Union is earning the lowest of wages, according to the European...

Ukraine moves to ban imports of Russian books

The import of Russian books into Ukraine would be sharply limited under new legislation passed in the Ukrainian...