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News 15 Dec 17

Romanians Anxious After New Metro Station Threat

Romanians expressed concern after police responded to an alleged death threat on the Bucharest metro three days after a woman murdered one passenger and attempted to kill another.

Ana Maria Luca
BIRN
Bucharest
The Bucharest metro. Photo: Pozaristul/Flikr.

Bucharest metro passengers expressed anxiety on Friday as police probed a second incident just three days after a 25-year-old woman was killed when another female passenger pushed her onto the tracks as the train arrived in the station.

In the second incident, a 57-year-old woman allegedly threatened another passenger with death at a station in central Bucharest. The police arrested and questioned the suspect.

The suspected attacker in the first incident was detained on Tuesday, remanded in custody for 30 days and is being held at a psychiatric hospital.

Friday’s arrest came less than two hours after an image captured by a surveillance camera was released by the authorities and circulated on social media.

“This was inevitable,” one passenger told BIRN.

“After all the television stations and websites ran the footage of Tuesday’s murder on a loop, there would have be some people with mental troubles who would have got ideas. I know I look like a paranoid person, but I simply don’t stand so close to the platform edge anymore and I’m always looking around. I can see others doing the same,” she said.

“I’m quite a tall and strong man and I still feel a bit anxious right now,” said another passenger who uses the metro daily.

“I told my wife that for the next couple of days she should avoid the metro. At least until the media attention fades,” he added.

Romanian police have been under fire since Tuesday, after an internal investigation ordered by Interior Minister Carmen Dan revealed that there was a delay in investigating an attempted murder caught on surveillance cameras just before the deadly attack.

The perpetrator attacked the first victim and tried to push her onto the tracks just three hours before she committed the murder. The first victim ran off and went to the police.

However, a relative of the escaped victim told media that she was instructed to go to three different police stations and waited for officers to finish other cases before she was asked to give a statement. By then, the attacker had already committed the murder.

“There was a lack of communication,” Dan told journalists after the investigation.

According to the chief of the Bucharest Police, Nicu Dragos Orlando, the reason for the delay was that the victim did not call the emergency 112 number, but went directly to the police station where the only officer on duty was handling a different case.

He said the officer also had to check the footage from the 22 surveillance cameras in the station and that took more time.

“Immediately after 8pm, we started the investigation into the [murder] incident in the Dristor 1 subway station,” he told a press conference on Thursday.

"During the investigation, we came to the hypothesis that there might be a connection between the two incidents and we urgently dispatched patrols to all stations, slowed down trains as they arrived at stations and then circulated stills of the aggressor,” he said.

After over 25,000 Romanians signed a petition asking the government to install protective barriers on metro platforms, Transport Minister Felix Stroe announced that metro operator Metrorex will install them in 2018.

The project is set to receive European funds, he added. 

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