Dark-skinned Swedes live in fear of racist gunman
Source: The First Post
By Jack Bremer
After the shooting of a black man waiting at a bus stop in the city of Malmo on Tuesday 19 October, Swedish police have been forced to issue a stark warning to all black or dark-skinned residents: they could be at risk from an apparently racist killer.
The 28-year-old shot this week has survived the shooting - the bullet just missed his spine. He is one of eight men who have been shot over the past year, ever since a young couple were targeted last October.
A 20-year-old white Swedish girl called Trez West Persson was sitting in a car in Malmo with a male friend from an ethnic minority when they were shot at by a stranger. Persson was killed and her friend survived.
It was only after the shootings continued that a pattern began to become clear.
"If you have dark skin you should be extra cautious," Lars-Haakan Lindholm, a police spokesman, said this week. "If you are in the risk group - that is, being coloured - then you should avoid lonely places like bus stops at night."
A special task force has now been set up in an effort to find the would-be killer.
Malmo is home to 300,000 people, many of them from ethnic minorities, and has long been plagued by racial violence.
Tensions have heightened since the ultra-nationalist Sverigedemokraternas - Sweden Democrat - party won its first seats in parliament in September after campaigning to halt immigration.
The spate of shootings in Malmo has inevitably brought comparisons with the notorious 1991-92 case of the Laser Man - so-called because the last thing his victims saw before they were shot was the red dot of a laser sight bobbing across their chests.
The Laser Man shot an Eritrean in 1991 and followed that up with 10 more shootings in Stockholm and Uppsala. Almost all the victims were immigrants.
John Ausonius was eventually identified as the shooter and, having killed one of his targets, was jailed for life in 1994.
Just as it is now, immigration in Sweden was a big talking point at the time. Ausonius is said to have felt he had the "moral support from the people" for his actions.
Beatrice Ask, the Swedish Minister for Justice, said of the current manhunt in Malmo: "Should it emerge that anti-immigration reasons are behind the shootings, this is very serious. I understand there is a lot of fear."