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Germany

German ‘who told people to arm themselves against refugees and sold guns worth US$124,000 online’ arrested in Hungary 

Prosecutors say Mario Rönsch ran the website ‘Migrants’ Fright’, which told people to take up arms – and also delivered them, first-class, ‘without annoying paperwork’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 12:29am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 12:43am

A German anti-immigrant campaigner who told his followers to “arm themselves against migrants” sold guns worth US$124,000 via his website “Migrant’s Fright”, Berlin prosecutors say.

Mario Rönsch (also spelt Roensch), 34, was detained in his home in Budpest, Hungary, on Wednesday morning on suspicion of selling 193 guns to German clients from May to November 2016 before the site was shut down.

An internet search showed the website offered “first class and discreetly delivered” ammunition and guns such as pistols and Kalashnikovs to clients “without troublesome bureaucratic hurdles or annoying paperwork”.

“He is believed to have illegally sold 193 permit-requiring firearms to buyers in Germany,” the statement from the Berlin prosecutor’s office read.

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Broadcasters NDR and WDR said that Rönsch was detained under a European arrest warrant and that he had earned around 100,000 euros (US$124,000) selling the weapons, which fired rubber bullets of the kind “that could cause serious injuries and kill people”.

The investigation had been under way since 2016, when German magazine Focus reported that the suspect was operating “Anonymous.Kollektiv”, a far-right anti-immigration website that had nearly 2 million followers on Facebook. The page has since been deleted.

German media said Rönsch was also thought to have close links to the online portal Anonymousnews.ru, which is known for spreading anti-Islam and anti-Semitic content.

Hungarian authorities raided two locations in Budapest and the city of Barcs on Wednesday, seizing data and other evidence, the prosecutor’s office said.

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The Berlin prosecutors said that their investigation was ongoing and that they were now awaiting Rönsch’s transfer to Germany.

German authorities have sought to crack down on attacks against immigrants, which have increased since the influx of more than a million mostly Muslim migrants beginning in 2015.

There were more than 2,000 attacks against migrants in 2017, ranging from physical assault to serious property damage, the German interior ministry said in February. 

It was not clear how many of the attacks involved weapons.