11 October 2018
Although we are now well into October anyone out and about will notice the large number of tourists still here, particular in Lisbon and the Algarve.
The continuing good weather and the popularity of Portugal is certainly drawing tourists here from many different countries. Long may it continue.
One of the main factors that people consider in planning a holiday is safety and security. A survey undertaken in 2015 by ABTA the British Association of Travel and Tour operators found that this was in fact the most important factor, ahead of sunshine, good food etc.
Portugal is a very safe place to visit, and is in fact the 4th most peaceful country in the world according to the 2018 Global Peace Index. However, with a very troubled world we cannot take this for granted. As such we must therefore all do our best to maintain Portugal as a place where visitors feel safe and have an enjoyable stay.
With this in mind and in accordance with our protocol with the Ministry of Interior, we have taken the opportunity to further develop our Safe Communities Algarve website with the creation of pages covering safety and security focusing on tourism. It is aimed that the information provided will help tourists visiting here, as well as residents planning a holiday overseas.
The new section, comprising nine pages, can be found on our home page in the section "For Tourists" on the main menu bar. One or two pages are under development but these should be completed in the next few days.
Another new additional measure we have taken to get key messages across, be it crime prevention or civil protection is the use of Twitter, the social messaging tool. We are now using this in addition to our Facebook page to help keep people informed.Please follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SafeComPortugal .
Safe Communities is currently planning several seminars concerning tourism safety and it is hoped that we will be able to give more details in our next newsletter. These are planned for the Algarve. In addition we will be making presentations at a further four events over the next months so this is a rather busy period.
Lastly many congratulations to Dra. Ana Silva, the Municipal Vet of Monchique, who has won a national award for innovation in respect of her Safe animals Project which she has created. Dra. Ana is a Board member of Safe Communities Portugal and we congratulate her on her well deserved award. More in this newsletter.
We are a voluntary association and rely on donations if you feel we helped you in any way please consider making a donation, which will enable us to continue, and indeed further improve our services. The details of how to make a donation are at the end of this newsletter or to our PayPal by simply making a
Safe Communities Portugal
Officials charged in connection with fallen tree that killed 13 people and injured 49 in Madeira.
A Councillor of the Funchal City Council, Idalina Perestrelo, responsible for the Urban Environment, Green Spaces and Public Spaces, and Francisco Andrade, head of the Urban and Green Spaces Division of the same Municipality, have been charged with 13 crimes of negligent homicide and 24 crimes of offences to "physical integrity" by negligence, in the context of the process related to the fall of a tree, in August last year, during the celebration of the feasts of Our Lady of the Mountain, in Funchal, Madeira.
Paulo Cafôfo, mayor of Funchal, who was accused during the investigation phase, will not go to trial, due to "insufficient evidence".
According to the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP), who announced the charges on 3rd October, the councillor and the head of Division "had the duty, in the performance of their duties (and of the services they supervised), to ensure the maintenance and care of the gardens and trees of the public space of Funchal ", including the oak that eventually fell to the beginning of that tragic afternoon.
The Prosecutors office added, "the duty of knowledge by the defendants of the source of risk that constituted a hundred-year-old tree appeared, evidently, over time, to show signs of being in poor condition." "It was their responsibility to take the appropriate measures to keep the tree in good condition in order to avoid disaster," argues the MP's attorney.
The large tree fell onto the crowd waiting in the Largo do Monte, the beginning of the procession in honour of Our Lady of the Mount. Thirteen people, including one child, died and another 49, including three foreign women, were transported to the hospital.
President of INTERPOL, resigns after being detained for bribery in China
The detained President of Interpol, Meng Hong wei, is being investigated for alleged bribe-taking, Chinese authorities have announced.
Mr Meng, who is also vice-minister for public security in China, was first reported missing in late September after travelling from Interpol HQ in France to China.
His wife has revealed that he sent her a text message with a knife emoji on the day he went missing.
In its announcement of the investigation, China's Public Security Ministry said the probe was "correct, wise and shows the determination of (President Xi)'s administration to continue its anti-corruption drive".
In a statement made by INTERPOL on 7
October, it said it had received Mr Meng's resignation with immediate effect. Under its terms it has appointed senior vice-president Kim Jong-yang of South Korea as acting president.
A new president will be elected for the remaining two years of Mr Meng's mandate at the general assembly in Dubai next month.
On Saturday, the international police agency had urged China to clarify Mr Meng's status, saying it was concerned about the well-being of its president.
There is no indication that Meng's detention has anything to do with his INTERPOL duties.
This is however, the second INTERPOL President to resign within 10 years resulting from a corruption investigation. In 2008 Jackie Selebi South African national police commissioner, resigned as president of Interpol, after he was charged with corruption in his native South Africa. He was found guilty of corruption in July 2010 and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
The President of INTERPOL presides over the Executive Committee, which is responsible for
providing guidance and direction to the Organisation and overseeing the implementation of decisions made at the annual General Assembly.
Safe Communities Portugal - Projects and events
The Algarve is one of the safest destinations in Europe, so it is important that we do everything possible to keep it that way.
Safety comes in many different forms such as ways to prevent for instance road accidents or drownings in the sea, to general crime prevention.
The role of Safe Communities Portugal is to create awareness and provide advice so that visitors are informed and can take preventive measures where necessary. Our objective is that everyone visiting this lovely country has a safe and enjoyable holiday.
With this objective in mind, we have expanded the Safe Communities Algarve (SCA) website to further help holiday makers, by providing information in the following topics. Please take a moment to study these.
It is important in conveying crime prevention messages, that this is done in a language that the is understood, particular relevant in the case of tourists. The crime prevention advice for tourists on the SCA website has therefore been expanded to 10 languages, covering such subjects as safety and security: on the road, out and about; in your villa, hotel and late night entertainment etc.
The SCA website has the most comprehensive crime prevention advice in multiple languages in Portugal. Please visit the new page here.
In order to focus on the most important security measures tourists should be aware of we have also uploaded our very successful Stay Safe series (currently on our Safe Communities Portugal website) onto our SCA website as well. Please visit the new page here
Another important subject which those booking villas need to be aware of, is online villa letting fraud. This is a global problem and one which is challenge for law enforcement agencies. We have therefore created a new page on the SCA website which covers this subject in more detail. with advice on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds. Please visit the new page here.
To give more comprehensive service to tourists we have created further new pages with helpful advice and information. Those completed are Water and Beach safety and Emergencies and those in the process of development cover: Camping and off Road activities, Road Safety, Health and Safety, and tips for travelling overseas. .
Mediterranean Garden Fair - 27th October 2017
Once again Safe Communities Portugal will be participating in the Mediterranean Garden Fair. which will be held at the Museu de Sao Brás de Alportel on 27th October from 1100 to 1600 hrs. The event is organised by the The Mediterranean Gardening Association Portugal (MGAP)
Our stand will be focusing on civil protection both for residents and holiday makers, with an emphasis on Safe Gardens, designed in such a way to reduce the risk of fires spreading to houses. We will also be explaining some of our new services being introduced in projects involving the government.
In addition we will also have our usual selection of crime prevention material and details of the GNR's Safe residence Program.
The Fair is a great day out for families. It provides an opportunity to buy the most appropriate plants for your garden and benefit from the advice and guidance of the knowledgeable nursery owners and MGAP members present. The usual programme of free talks will be provided as well as the availability of snacks and food to purchase from local growers.
Money Laundering - what is it and how to avoid
Because of the clandestine nature of ML, it is difficult to estimate the total amount of money that goes through the laundry cycle.
However according to UNODC statistics (2018) the estimated amount of money laundered globally annually is between 2 - 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars. Though the margin between those figures is huge, even the lower estimate underlines the seriousness of the problem.
ML normally comprises three common steps: (i) Placement - obtaining the money or introducing it into the financial system in some way; (ii) Layering - transferring or concealing the source of the money through complex or multiple transactions and (iii) Integration - returning the money back into the financial world so that it appears legitimate
Some Common examples
- Bulk cash smuggling involves smuggling cash into another country for deposit into offshore banks or other type of financial institutions that honour client secrecy.
- Real estate laundering occurs when someone purchases real estate with money obtained illegally, then sells the property. This makes it seem as if the profits are legitimate.
- Trade-based laundering where invoices are altered to show a higher or lower amount in order to disguise the movement of money.
- Money Remittance and Foreign Exchange (MR/FX) sector, involves the misuse of MR/FX businesses for laundering money.
Situation in Portugal
The overall economic, financial and social context of Portugal has been heavily affected by the 2008 global financial crisis. The financial sector has been particularly hard hit, with banks in Portugal facing deteriorating balance sheets and liquidity pressure.
Welcome New British Ambassador to Portugal Chris Sainty
The new British Ambassador to Portugal Chris Sainty formally presented his credentials to his Excellency the President of Portugal, Prof Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and has now officially began his mandate as the new British Ambassador in Portugal. Chris was appointed in January, in succession to Kirsty Hayes.
In his video message to the British community in Portugal, he said that: "You won't be surprised to hear that Brexit is the number one issue for me", adding that "My top priority is doing what I can to protect the interests of the British community in Portugal" and that "I will work with the Portuguese authorities to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your families".
He is married to Sarah Helen Sainty and has three children. He joined the diplomatic service in 1989 and his more recent postings have been:
- 2015 - 2017 FCO, European Correspondent and Head of Europe (South) Department, Europe Directorate
- 2011 - 2015 Rome, Deputy Head of Mission
- 2008 - 2010 Islamabad, Political Counsellor
- 2006 - 2008 The Hague, Deputy Head of Mission
- 2004 - 2006 FCO, Head of EU Presidency Department
Safe Communities Portugal is p
rivileged in enjoying a close relationship with the British Embassy and the Ambassador, in particular.
Chris Sainty, arrives to head a great team of dedicated officials in the Embassy and Consular offices who do tremendous work in helping British nationals in sorts of matters, sometimes in very distressing circumstances.
Monchique, Municipal Veterinary Doctor wins National Veterinary Innovation Award
The Municipality of Monchique and the Municipal Veterinary Doctor, Dr. Ana Silva have been awarded the Innovation Award of Veterinary Medicine with the Safe Animal Program.
The award took place at the
Vetbizz Conference held in Lisbon a few days ago.
On a day of sharing and discussion where new business models, styles of change in veterinary management were analysed, and how employee happiness management can impact on clinical results, prizes were awarded, highlighting projects and veterinary doctors who highlighted the work developed.
The Safe Animal Program is a pioneer initiative in the country, where for the first time, a municipality presents a set of preventive measures for animals in case of fire. This means that no animal should be left behind in the event of a fire, with the slogan, "If it is not safe for you, it will not be for your animal either."
This document also explains the forms of rescue for the animals, signs of need for first aid and how to act in case of emergency.
The Animal Safety Program can be found in its entirety on the website of the Municipality of Monchique, at this link
Management of air resources to fight fires is a "major challenge" for the Air Force
Prime Minister António Costa said that the management of air resources to fight fires is a "major challenge" for the Air Force following the resolution adopted at the Council of Ministers meeting of October 4, 2018.
The resolution defines the transition model for centralized command and management of rural firepower and progressively "increases the Air Force in the role of responsibility" in a mission "of great importance for safeguarding national security".
At Air Force Base 5 in Monte Real, Leiria, the Prime Minister added the importance of the upcoming Military Programming Law, which will "address the immediate and pressing needs of the industry" and the relevance of the program to acquire six KC-390 aircraft to replace the C-130 transport aircraft.
This investment will impact not only on national defence but also on the development of the country's industrial and technological capacity.
During a visit accompanied by the Minister of National Defense, José Alberto Azeredo Lopes, and by the Air Force Chief of Staff, Manuel Rolo, the Prime Minister watched the F-16 fighters take off.
Person detained for illegal distribution of TV signals through servers
The Judicial Police (PJ) of Aveiro have detained a man in Oliveira de Azeméis suspected of illegally installing a television signal distribution system using the "card sharing" method, the agency said on Thursday 4
In a statement, the PJ said that the 44-year-old detainee "had through his own structure, illegally developed and shared by himself internet access cards for encrypted channels of paid TV service. This included obtaining customers, installing equipment, which had been specially tampered with to receive the coded signal, making the accesses available and receiving the agreed payments in return."
According to the investigators this structure comprised about a dozen servers, installed in Portugal, France and Germany.
"With this procedure, at the time of arrest, more than two hundred customers had illegitimate access to the paid TV signal without the operators of protected television content receiving the price due, to their detriment and those of the Public Treasury," the PJ stated.
In the course of the searches carried out, the complete system for the reception of the protected signal, decryption and its illicit Internet sharing, was seized comprising several satellite reception boxes, Internet access router, server and several "set-top-box" which had been tampered with.
The detainee is indicted on charges of aggravated cybercrime, illegitimate access, possession and sale of illicit devices and the usurping of copyright and related rights.
PJ arrested person suspected of killing friend in Silves
A man, 58, was detained by the Judicial Police (PJ) on suspicion of killing a friend in the town of Silves, Algarve. He is charged with murder and the desecration of a corpse. He was presented to court this Friday 28
September and was remanded in custody.
Both men suffered from chronic alcoholism and slept in a house in ruins by the river Arade in Silves.
According to a PJ source, the 58-year-old suspect repeatedly assaulted the victim with a stick, causing him serious injuries and eventually his death. Then he dragged the victim to a cisterna with the purpose of throwing him into the cisterna to hide the corpse but without success.
The body of José Martins Nunes, 57, known as "Ze Prego", was found one day later in a street near Mata Mouros, in Silves, near the house. He had several deep wounds to his head, which the investigation concluded were caused by a stick.
Lawyer arrested for making "improper" asylum applications
The Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) has executed a search warrant at the home of a lawyer in the Lisbon area, who is suspected of being exclusively involved in making improper applications for asylum, for those who had been refused entrance into Portugal. The investigation by SEF, was named "Operation Lingala", and lasted more than a year.
The lawyer was constituted a defendant and was notified to appear in court. There are also strong indications of her involvement in a cell in Dakar, Senegal, which allegedly indicated the suspicion that foreign nationals came to Portugal and could subsequently initiate asylum applications.
After foreign citizens had arrived in Portugal and been refused entry they were transferred to the Temporary Installation Center (EECIT) at the Lisbon Airport, whereupon the lawyer immediately appeared. She requested contact with the detainees (mostly nationals of African countries whose flights originated in Dakar, Luanda and Casablanca) without being asked to attend.
Then, in order to prevent them from being removed to their country of origin, the lawyer submitted an asylum application on behalf of the foreign citizens, as well as a power of attorney appointing her agent.
This abuse of the international protection mechanism through asylum applications, which were mostly unfounded, had the sole purpose of preventing intercepted passengers from returning to their country of origin, a move which gave the suspicion a high financial reward.
During the searches made to her apartment, which also functioned as an office, computer and communication equipment used by the suspect, schedules, notebooks with indication of amounts collected, as well as proof of transfers / receipts of monetary amounts via financial agencies or banks were seized.
PSP arrest 25 traffickers near schools
In an operation last 16 days, the PSP have detained 25 people who sold drugs in the vicinity of 353 schools across the country. During the same period, and in the scope of Operation Safe School: beginning of the 2018/19 school year, the Police also seized four weapons, one of them of fire arm.
The initiative, which mobilised 3887 agents, was also used to inform 14,292 students to the consequences of crimes such as drug trafficking and illegal possession of a weapons
The PSP stated that, between September 12 and 28, it carried out 1016 surveillance operations near schools throughout the country.
The PSP also detected 15 establishments selling alcoholic beverages to minors under 18 years of age and 25 people selling drugs.
Increased personnel for GNR
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said that by the end of 2018, "more than 900 new guards" of GNR will be fully operational.
In Figueira da Foz, during the oath ceremony of 340 new guards of the GNR, Eduardo Cabrita pointed out that the 900 new graduates is "the largest number of new personnel for about a decade".
The Minister also said that the new guards "will have the support of equipment, vehicles, and in facilities adapted to the needs of this new challenge".
Eduardo Cabrita said that about 600 trainees will complete the formation in Portalegre on December 14, joining the 340 who graduated in Figueira da Foz and another hundred new officers.
Rural Fire statistics - 2018
Since the beginning of this year up until 8th October, there have been a total of 11,380 fires, burning some 42,105 hectares of land.
Of the land burned, 51% has been forest, 43% bush land and 6% agricultural.
Commenting, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that the risk of fire will remain very high in the coming days and called on the population to avoid risky behaviour in forest areas, such as making fires or launching rockets.
During a visit to the National Civil Protection Authority, Eduardo Cabrita called for "particular attention in the coming days, especially until next weekend because we are in a situation of maximum or very high risk in most of the country."
The Minister of Internal Affairs stated that the system has demonstrated "a great confidence in the responsiveness of the whole civil protection structure" and that the area burned in September was 80% lower than the average of the last 10 years, in relation to the same month
"Occurrences are 44% less than the average, and the area burned from January to 1st October is 62% less than the average of the last 10 years," he said. thus consolidating the trend of 'significant reduction in occurrences'.
Since the beginning of October, to the date of going to publication, however, there has been over 650 fires, a number
unparalleled in the last decade.The ANPC have called upon people to act responsibly in order to prevent fires.