Portugal?s only registered non-profit crime prevention association providing dedicated information and support services to the community

1 July 2015


Firstly I am very pleased with all the support we received through the sharing of information concerning fire alerts on our Facebook page and through visits to our website.

Your interest and sharing of information means that more people are aware of the fire risks and fire prevention, thus helping to reduce fires and the risks of injury and damage to property.

Although not related, we seem to have received more enquiries recently concerning email scams. In one case we successfully helped a lady falling victim to a fraudster before the money requested cleared her bank account.  I would like to ask you all to really study email addresses carefully if anything contained in the message is unusual. If your computer is hacked into and your address book compromised this means that every one on that list is at risk. It is important that those people are informed as soon as possible.  

Just a reminder that we also have our Facebook page currently standing at around 3800 likes, where you can find the latest news as well as any urgent messages that we receive concerning public safety and security. If you are a Facebook user please visit the page and help share news with your friends. 

This newsletter starts with an important development concerning Portugal's security with the introduction of a Terrorism Strategy and extensive changes to the terrorism laws. In addition it contains: new law prohibiting sale of alcohol to under 18s; some excellent arrests made by the Judicial Police and GNR; heatwave deaths in Portugal; detention of two people with false documents at Faro airport; SEF "Smart Borders Project; SEF - provisional detention of those involved in Citizenship Fraud; Seminar - Challenges in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings; British Tourists assault taxi driver in Albufeira; young woman abducted and assaulted in Albufeira; fires in lower Alentejo; woman prosecuted over corruption allegations on Facebook; PSP in critical condition following assault by gang; three separate email scams to be aware of; Europol - Major Cybercrime gang dismantled

If you would like to share your experiences concerning crime prevention or public safety or are in an industry perhaps where you have a good practice you would like to share with others please let us know through our contacts page.

Portuguese Government approves a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

Major Changes to Terrorism Laws


The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism represents a mobilization of commitment, coordination and cooperation of all national structures, with direct and indirect responsibility in the fight against this threat," said the Minister of Internal Affairs, Anabela Rodrigues, at the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers decided that its adoption Also present was the Minister of Justice, Paula Teixeira da Cruz.


In order to adjust existing legislation to the Strategy, the Council of Ministers also approved eight bills. The Minister of Justice said that these proposals change:

  • The Criminal Procedure Code, updating the definition of terrorism;
  • The Nationality Law, changing the requirements for the granting of nationality by naturalization and for opposing the granting of Portuguese nationality;
  • The law establishes the legal regime of covert actions for prevention and criminal investigation;
  • The law establishing measures to combat organized, economic and financial crime, to cover all criminal offenses related to terrorism;
  • The law to combat terrorism, criminalizing public apology for the crime of terrorism and membership of terrorist organizations;
  • The legal system of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory;
  • The Organization Law of Criminal Investigation, to cover all criminal offenses related to terrorism; and
  • The Internal Security Act, adding further experience and skills to the composition of the Higher Internal Security Council and strengthening the organization's Anti-Terrorist Coordination Unit.
More details of the new strategy and changes can be found here.

Sale of Alcohol to under 18s Prohibited wef 1st July 2015

The ban on the selling alcohol to under-18s entered into force on Wednesday 1st July 2015. 

The new legislation was published in the Official Gazette two weeks ago. From 1st July there is no distinction between spirits and beer and wine. Up to now the sale of the last two was allowed to young people from 16 years.

To ensure compliance with the law, establishments may ask for "the presentation of an identification document, to check a persons age.

Sellers risk receiving fines between 500 and 30,000 euros in the case of illegal sale of alcohol to minors, and between 500 and 5500 euros for failing to display notices on the new legislation.

Excellent Arrests

Judicial Police detain a person for attempted murder, armed robbery and crimes against road safety

The Judicial Police have  identified and arrested a man, who together with another man made several shots, with a pistol and shotgun at a vehicle on the IC2, between Pombal and Condeixa- a-Nova, targetting the three occupants.


The incident took place on the morning of 2nd March, 2014 and appears to have been have been motivated by jealousy. The alleged perpetrators are also suspected of having committed two vehicle thefts using a firearm, one in Aveiro and another in Coimbra, in March last year. 


During subsequent investigations involving the conducting of nine property searches, car parts and accessories were found and seized belonging to a Mercedes Benz, which were believed to have been stolen at gunpoint in the city of Coimbra. 


Two stolen cars were seized in France as well as a high-powered motorcycle stolen from inside a garage in the town of Coimbra. The suspect now detained, 20 years old, already with a criminal record, was presented for first judicial interrogation.


The second suspect aged 21years had already been questioned and detained under another investigation and is reporting daily to the nearest police station in his area of residence.

Quarteira - GNR Seize 12160 doses of hashish and arrest person for drug trafficking  

On 26th June 2015 the Criminal Investigation Center of GNR Loul? seized 12,160 doses of hashish and arrested a person aged 28 years.


The operation followed information of drug trafficking in the area of Pereiras, Quarteira. Follow up enquiries established that the accused was using a car in the city center of Quarteira.


Upon being approached by the GNR the suspect and upon questioning, it was found that the individual had kept the drugs in an existing residence in the vicinity, owned by a friend.

During the operation the drugs in 25 packages were located and seized.


The individual is a Portuguese citizen residing in Quarteira

Heatwave Deaths in Portugal  

According to the Director General of Health, a total of 1942 died from the heatwave during the period 17th to 23rd June. This compares with 1805 for the same period in 2014, and is the highest figure for seven years.


This coincides with temperatues reaching 35C in Lisbon and over 40C in Beja. The heat wave that affects the country since last Thursday will extend, particularly in areas of Tras-os-Montes and Alentejo, at least for another ten days. The temperatures exceeding 40C results from a passing mass of hot air coming from Spain. 

Two Persons Detained at Faro Airport using False Documents  

On 24th June The Aliens and Border Service - SEF stopped, at Faro airport, two foreign citizens for use of counterfeit Hungarian identity cards. In addition their driving licences were found to be counterfeit.

The individuals, aged 22 and 25, were identified by the SEF at the immigration control point prior to departure for the UK.

On further analysis of their legal status, it was found that all were illegal and they were also arrested for illegal stay in the national territory.

They appeared in the Court of Faro, on Monday and were detained by Court order at the Faro Airport Installation Center,  where they await  further procedural measures relating to the crime of using false documents and subsequent removal.

SEF - "Smart Borders: a Project with a Future

The pilot tests of the European Project 'Smart Borders' ended on 4th June at Lisbon's Airport. Portugal is the first Country in Europe to test this innovative program for entry and departures of Schengen Area.


The Immigration and Borders Service, which manages the Smart Borders Project at national level in cooperation with the eu-LISA agency, received at Lisbon's Airport a visit of representatives from thirteen Member States, including Latvia (as EU presidency), European Commission, eu-LISA Agency and General Secretariat of the Council, with the purpose of collecting information regarding the results of the Smart Borders Project.


The tests conducted at the Lisbon's air border although ended, will start in other Member States' borders, hence this is a moment to share of knowledge, challenges and final results, given that Portugal was the starting point - on March 15 - of the entire European project.


Read more

SEF - Provisional detention of suspects in connection with Citizenship Fraud  

The Criminal Court of Lisbon declared provisional detention for the three suspects detained by the Immigration and Borders Service on June 2nd in the police operation ?Livro M?gico? ["Magic Book"]. 


This operation dismantled a criminal network which ensured - through fraudulent means and in exchange for large amounts of money - the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship to foreign citizens allegedly born in the former Portuguese territories in India.


For the process of fraud used in the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship please download here.

Seminar Challenges in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings  

Organized by the CIG - Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality / Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the OTSH - Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings / General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of the Judicial Police, the seminar was held on 25th and 26th June.


This seminar achieved two initiatives at once: on the one hand, the holding of an international conference on trafficking in persons and the new challenges that arise within the EU provided for in the Third National Plan for Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. 


Secondly, the organization of a final conference in the European project "Towards a Pan-European Monitoring System on Trafficking in Human Beings', coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs MAI / OTSH. 

Three British Tourists leave Portugal after being detained for assault and Criminal Damage


It was reported on 21st June that three English tourists aged 21, 25 and 27 years of age were arrested by the GNR in Albufeira after damaging a taxi, spitting at, and assaulting a taxi driver.


The taxi driver was conveying them in his taxi, but asked them to get out because of their alleged unruly behaviour. In response they youths assaulted him, following which they broke the taxi windows, rear view mirror and damaged the bodywork.


They were taken back to the GNR station but were subsequently released by the Prosecutor and ordered to appear in court. Instead of doing so however, they left Portugal before they were scheduled appear.


They reportedly checked out of the hotel at 1730 hrs on 21st June for a flight booked at 0930 hrs the following day.

Judicial police arrest suspects for abduction and serious assault


On 29th June the Judicial Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Portim?o, identified and arrested a man and a woman, for abduction and serious assault.


The crime occurred on 26th May, when the suspects approached the victim, reportedly a British teenager aged 19, in the area of Albufeira, forcing her into enter their car. They then took her to an isolated location near Alcantarilha train station where they shaved her hair, struck her with a sharp object and tore her clothes, subsequently being abandoned half naked in the Silves area. It is being described in the media as a revenge attack following an alleged love affair.


The detainees, 19 and 38 years old respectively, were presented at the first judicial interrogation, for application of conditions prior to attending trial. It is understood the woman has since left Portugal.

PSP agent in Critical Condition following assault by a gang.


On 27th June it was reported that Fernando Bandera aged 48 years serving with the PSP was brutally attacked whilst carrying out his work at a music festival at Vale da Amoreira, Moita, just south of Lisbon.


The agent was involved in a crowd management operation at the time but reportedly became separated from his colleagues. A number of men then attacked the agent throwing stones at him and stabbing him three times. A number of people helped save the agent by preventing further attack.


Two persons have been arrested in connection with the attack. The firearm was recovered from a rubbish bin following an anonymous tip off. It is likely that others will be arrested shortly.


Colleagues report that the agent may have been recognized by gang members as he had undertaken anti drug trafficking operations in the area.

Outbreak of fires in lower Alentejo


On 29th June more than 300 fire fighters and six aircraft were fighting various fires in Alentejo.

A total of 125 firefighters, 37 vehicles and three aircraft were on Monday afternoon fighting a fire in a bush area in Ourique municipality, in the district of Beja, some 80 kms north of the Algarve. 


The fire broke out at 1613 hrs, in the parish of Santana da Serra, and at 1730hrs was active on two fronts. There was no population at risk, said a spokesman of the District Command Relief Operations (CDOS) Beja.


At the same time, a fire was being fought by 121 firefighters and 37 vehicles of various fire brigades of the districts of Beja and Faro with three aircraft, two heavy and one light, the source said.


Also in the Alentejo, but in the district of Portalegre, 120 firefighters, 30 vehicles and three air assets were mobilized, at 1750 hrs, to fight a forest fire that broke out at 16h21 at the site of Bica, Marv?o municipality, according to a source of CDOS.


Around 17:30, 54 firefighters, 16 vehicles and three flights (two planes and a helicopter), were fighting another fire that broke out at 1407 hrs in the parish of Alvarenga, in Arouca municipality in the district of Aveiro. 

Algarve - woman to be prosecuted after Corruption Allegation on Facebook.

A woman who is a resident in the Algarve is to be prosecuted by the GNR after she made allegations on Facebook that the GNR officers and the GNR were corrupt.


The woman who was in Fuseta, was fined ?30 for parking on a yellow line in Olhao. She left and then returned a short while later to find a GNR vehicle parking on the line. She alleged that they were having breakfast but this was denied by the GNR stating they were making enquiries.


She the took a photo of the car and posted this on her Facebook page with the allegations of corruption.


A number of English media covered the story but with misleading headlines that she was being prosecuted "for complaining on Facebook". Through contact made by Safe Communities Portugal with the GNR it was confirmed that the prosecution is only in respect of the "false corruption allegation" which amounts to slander. If this had not been stated then no action would have been taken. The GNR spokesman added that there are complaints made on the GNR Facebook page and these are not taken down - but on this occasion this was allegations of a serious crime.




This appears to be a typical example of someone acting in the heat moment and the instinctive action is to post on Facebook.Often people do not appreciate they words they are using on Facebook which can amount to trolling, slander and things that the user would likely regret later.


The use of the word "corruption" is often used without any evidence or foundation. Another way to look at this is if serious false accusations were made against you or your business how would you feel?  

Algarve - Scam in the name of Gracy, Ricardo and Liliana Biss 


Please be aware of this scam that was circulated on 28th June 2015 in the Algarve and possibly beyond. The persons whose name the email is from, had her computer hacked into and the email address book compromised on 27th June.


The following email has been sent by the hacker pretending to be Gracy Biss to a unknown number of people. As a result one person in the central Algarve gave her bank instructions to transfer ?1000 to the hackers address through Western Union, believing it to be Gracy Biss, who it is not. 


Safe Communities Portugal was informed of this by the victim and advised her not to send the money as it is a scam. Luckily she was just in time to inform the bank  and cancel the instruction.


If anyone receives this please Do Not reply. I have been asked by Liliana Moreira the daughter in law of Gracy Biss to inform people and clients of her company to email Liliana Moreira at lilianaraquelmoreira@gmail.com  so the company can update its records.


I am very grateful to Gracy and Liliana and the potential victim for giving us permission to share this quickly.


Read more about the scam here


Note: if you are subject of a cyber attack compromising your address book, and as a result demands for money are made by a hacker please inform us immediately. If you are a victim of fraud and have lost money as a result the matter should be reported quickly to the Judicial Police.


If you receive an email from a friend that looks odd especially demanding money then telephone, rather than reply by email.

Phishing Attack in the Name of Coca-Cola


This a fairly typical lottery scam received on 27th June 2015.


The subject is "Coca-Cola Promotion sent by nibm-agent (at) foxmail.com. This is a Phishing attack seeking to get you to divulge your personal information, with the aim of removing money from your accounts. If you have not entered a competition then of course you will not be winner - so ignore. Do not reply, or click on the link - simply delete.


Read more in our Cybersecurity Alerts Centre

533 Reports of Ticket Fraud relating to Gigs, Concerts and Sporting Events received  


Action Fraud UK has reported that so far in June they have received 533 reports of ticket fraud relating to gigs, concerts and sporting events.


Of the 533 reports, 228 mentioned a company called Circle Tickets which has recently ceased trading online. Circle Tickets was advertising tickets for Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac and Ed Sheeran. The 228 reports are with the  UK's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for analysis and assessment.


Statistics from NFIB show that 33% of crime reports related to ticket fraud in 2014 happened in the months May, June and July. This is largely due to the number of UK festivals and high-profile concerts taking place during these months.


Get Safe Online has recently joined forces with the NFIB and Gumtree to warn you to be careful of ticket fraud at this time of year.


A joint investigation team (JIT) consisting of investigators and judicial authorities from six different European countries, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has taken down a major cybercriminal group during a coordinated action in Ukraine. 

Europol - Major Cybercrime Ring Dismantalled

A joint investigation team (JIT) consisting of investigators and judicial authorities from six different European countries, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has taken down a major cybercriminal group during a coordinated action in Ukraine. 


With on-the-spot support from Europol, Austrian and Belgian law enforcement and judicial authorities, the action in Ukraine on 18 and 19 June resulted in the arrest of five suspects, eight house searches in four different cities, and the seizure of computer equipment and other devices for further forensic examination.


The aim of this JIT was to target high-level cybercriminals and their accomplices who are suspected of developing, exploiting and distributing Zeus and SpyEye malware - two well-known banking Trojans - as well as channelling and cashing-out the proceeds of their crimes.


The cybercriminals used malware to attack online banking systems in Europe and beyond, adapting their sophisticated banking Trojans over time to defeat the security measures implemented by the banks. Each cybercriminal had their speciality and the group was involved in creating malware, infecting machines, harvesting bank credentials and laundering the money through so-called money mule networks.


Read more

This months top crime prevention tips

As we are approaching summer I would like to highlight a number of crime prevention tips available on our websites. These tips can help you have a safe and secure summer. Just Click on the following links below:

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in the Algarve

Each week Safe Communities Algarve provides advice and assistance to those who have contacted the association. No charge is made for this service. If you have benefited from this then why not make a small donation in return. 


Safe Communities Algarve is a non-profit association run by unpaid volunteers. Our services are free of charge and the association is funded by donations. Your generosity by making a donation to help maintain and further develop the work of the association and thereby help keep the Algarve a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps.  


If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. If you wish to donate by cheque or by interbank transfer please contact SCA for our bank details using the contact page. All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Safe Communities Algarve - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Algarve produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident where there is a full page feature in the first issue each month. The latest feature out on 4th June was "Portugal without Fires".

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is aired at 0920 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. The last one, on 27th June 2015 was on forest fire prevention for tourists, Safe use of ATMs and credit card security.

How your friends can obtain up to date Crime Prevention advice
Please pass on details of Safe Communities Algarve to neighbours and friends so they to can benefit from the up to date crime prevention advice. Simply ask them to click on the following link to obtain the latest newsletter: www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Safe Communities Algarve



1 July 2015