Kross false claim charge one of around 100 to occur each year, PPA says

PPA badge (picture is illustrative).
PPA badge (picture is illustrative). Source: PPA

The number of false statements made to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and other enforcement agencies every year is as many as a hundred, Baltic News Service reports.

The issue has come under focus following reports that the wife of a prominent Estonian politician has been charged over claims she made late on in 2018 that she had been the victim of a xenophobic attack at Tallinn's Stroomirand beach.

Quoting daily Postimees, BNS reported that PPA officials relate how many false statements concern somewhat more trivial matters than those surrounding the Stroomirand case. A common occurrence involves those who have misplaced a valuable item while under the influence of alcohol, sometimes during the course of an illicit tryst, reporting the item stolen to the PPA, rather than facing the wrath of family members, the PPA said.

Chidren, too, make similar claims when they lose expensive items like a cellphone, reporting the "theft" to the PPA to dodge parental castigation, the report continued, adding that tourists who lose items while in Estonia have been known to report them as stolen for insurance purposes.

One concrete example of a false report involved seemingly sincere claims by a man, again in late 2018, or early 2019, to the effect that his partner had been abducted by loan sharks.

"A large number of personnel were kept busy searching for [the missing partner] and establishing background information concerning her previous movements and where she might have ended up later," Hisko Vares, head of investigation into crimes against the person at the PPA's North Prefecture, said.

The PPA has also investigated a case where an individual committed a type of crime of passion against themselves, claiming they had been stabbed by another party, whereas the injuries were in fact self-inflicted.

The total number of false report charges, according to Ministry of Justice statistics, was 98 in 2018. The ratio of charges to convictions, however, was about 3:1, according to BNS.

The Stroomirand incident saw Mary Kross, a filmmaker and U.S. national, who is married to Reform MP Eerik-Niiles Kross, a former diplomat and former intelligence chief, claim that two men attacked her at Stroomirand, in November 2018.

Kross said she had been walking her dog and simultaneously speaking on her phone when the pair attacked, throwing rocks which injured both her and the dog, and exhorting her to return home.

One of the men was sporting a Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) t-shirt, Kross said.

Kross's story gained traction on social media when it appeared, in this version with Kross cited as "a friend", first on the social media page of entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks, and subsequently on online magazine Estonian World, shortly after the putative events.

While the PPA investigated the incident, however, it did not find any evidence supporting Kross' claims, including that from CCTV recordings and Kross's own cellphone, leaving district prosecutor Ülle Jaanhold to recently state that a false claim had been proven and such a charge had been made. No conviction has been made as yet, and the case is ongoing.

In May, cellphone footage emerged of a man verbally abusing a Pakistan national in the Õismäe district of Tallinn. The man, who was also wearing a t-shirt with an EKRE logo, appeared to make a fascist salute in addition to demanding his interlocutor return home.

The man received an 8-day prison sentence as a result of the incident, which was not the first of its kind he had been involved in, it was reported at the time.

What sparked the incident off was not recorded on the footage or reported at the time.

EKRE is one of three coalition parties at present; Reform is in opposition.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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