cologne njemačka policija police germany.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MAJA HITIJ

Eight new complaints were filed Tuesday related to a series of incidents in which women have reported being molested, groped and assaulted by groups of migrant men in Cologne, Germany, on New Year's Eve.

The new filings bring the number of charges to 561, from the 553 that had been recorded late Monday, said head prosecutor Ulrich Bremer. An earlier police report had mistakenly stated that the number of charges had risen by one hundred.

So far authorities have investigated 12 men - five of whom have been detained - on minor charges such as theft. Cologne's police department had previously spoken of 20 suspects. However, the police department has been relieved of primary jurisdiction on the case after being heaped with much criticism for their handling of it.

But the women filing the complaints have argued that the incidents on December 31 were much more serious than that, with the men allegedly groping, molesting and even raping women who were prevented from escaping by a horde of about 1,000 men.

All the men under investigation hail originally from Northern Africa.

Bremer refused to give numbers on the overall number of men who have been questioned in relation to the case. He also would not say how many of the 561 complaints include allegations of sexual assault.

On Monday, when the overall figure stood at 553, about 45 per cent of the complaints were said to regard crimes of a sexual nature.

The case has loosed a series of anguished debates across Germany, primarily about the wisdom of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision last year to implement an open arms policy towards asylum seekers if such people were, indeed, responsible for the New Year's Eve assaults.

There have also been debates about police preparedness and whether the incident means Germany will have to struggle harder to integrate the refugees who have already arrived in Germany, or toughen laws that could be used to deport them.

Cologne has been the focal point of the debate, but similar incidents were recorded in cities across Europe such as Hamburg and Helsinki, sparking debate about whether the assaults were planned and coordinated.

Police in the southern German city of Nuremberg on Tuesday reported that they have also begun to investigate complaints that a group of about 20 Northern African men spent part of New Year's Eve grabbing women and forcing kisses upon them.

At least four women have filed complaints, the police reported.

Latest news

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.

Thousands protest in Malta against controversial press law reforms

Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Malta on Sunday, answering a call by the main opposition party to protest against what it described as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

London's mayor calls for Trump's state visit to be cancelled

US President Donald Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday.

'Now more than ever': US scientists gird for confrontation with Trump

Normally any annual gathering of American scientists is relatively non-political. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, things are different at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many researchers are worried about their future and are urging colleagues to protest - and remain vigilant.

Int'l conference on post-war monuments in post-communist Europe held in Zagreb

The event was organised by the Zagreb-based association SF:ius in cooperation with the Croatian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Istria border police discover 20 migrants in van

During routine border control, police in the northern Croatian Adriatic region of Istria on Saturday discovered 20 migrants in a van driven by a Croatian national, the Ministry of the Interior said.