Four Chinese nationals arrested for allegedly importing $30 million worth of goods without paying customs duties or VAT

Four Chinese nationals have been taken into custody on suspicion of having illegally imported and sold some $30 million worth of textiles and other goods, on which customs duties and VAT was not paid. The Chinese nationals were arrested following an eight-month-long investigation. The arrests themselves took place over two days during an action codenamed "List". Police searched 15 homes and several storage facilities during the raid. They seized over $4 million in cash. The Chinese nationals each face up to 12 years in prison.

author: Brian Kenety

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  • Weather forecast


    It should be overcast and rainy in the Czech Republic on Friday, with an average daytime high of 14 degrees Celsius. The following days are also expected to be overcast.

    author: Ian Willoughby
  • Prague wooden church fire blamed on technical fault or human error


    Fire service investigators say a blaze at a wooden church in Prague was probably caused by either a technical fault or human error. The Church of St. Michael in the city’s Kinský Gardens park was burnt to a cinder in Wednesday’s fire. It was originally built in Carpathian Ruthenia before being disassembled and transported to Prague in 1929.

    The fire service said the cause of the blaze should be established by Friday.

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  • Medical chamber chief: New minister must demand full lockdown


    The head of the Czech Medical Chamber says that the new minister of health needs to insist on a total lockdown to contain the Covid-19 emergency. Speaking to Czech Radio, Milan Kubek said the country’s hospitals were headed for disaster. The doctors’ leader said the government’s bit by bit “salami technique” was not working.

    Mr. Kubek said that the Czech Republic should follow Israel’s lead by imposing a full lockdown, adding that the tougher the restrictions the shorter they would need to be in place.

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  • Doctor Jan Blatný appointed health minister


    Doctor Jan Blatný has been named Czech minister of health. He was appointed by President Milos Zeman at his Lány residence near Prague on Thursday. The move came less than a week after the previous minister, Roman Prymula, was photographed leaving a restaurant, which should have been closed under Covid-19 restrictions. Mr. Prymula was only appointed in the latter half of September.

    Dr. Blatny specialises in paediatric haematology and has international experience. He has previously served as deputy head of Brno’s University Hospital.

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  • Data analysts: lockdown will be inevitable


    According to the Centre for Modelling of Biological and Social Processes (BISOP) a strict lockdown will be unavoidable if the epidemic is to be brought under control by Christmas.

    It should also include a ban on people meeting outside work and family, the centre said in a press release. The BISOP research team consists of seventeen scientists from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Charles University and the CERGE-EI institute.

    According to the centre’s executive director René Levínský a strict lockdown would mean a reduction in contacts by 60 to 70 percent, presence in the workplace by 50 to 60 percent, compulsory face masks and a high level of compliance with the protective measures enforced.

    A recent survey showed that a third of Czechs oppose the restrictions and 27 percent still refuse to wear face masks.

  • Number of newly registered Covid-19 cases hits new high


    The number of newly registered Covid-19 cases reached 12,977 on Wednesday, the highest number yet on a non-work day.

    The number of people hospitalized and those in a serious condition continues to grow steeply, as does the death toll.

    175,000 people are currently fighting the infection, over 6,600 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, of which close to a 1,000 are in a serious condition. The death toll has reached 2,675.

  • President Zeman honours 38 personalities on Czechoslovak Independence Day


    In an address to the nation on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, President Miloš Zeman said the holiday should be a celebration of national pride in the outstanding people who had shaped the country’s history.

    He expressed regret that due to the coronavirus epidemic he could not hand out high state distinctions to those deserving of the honour at Prague Castle, thanking them for their outstanding contribution to the country’s development.

    The list of 38 laureates would be made public and the awards would be presented to them in a year’s time, Mr. Zeman said.

    Among those honoured with the country’s highest distinction, the Order of the White Lion, are WWII  hero Miloslav Masopust and war pilots František Chábera and Josef Koukal decorated in memoriam; , likewise legionary and resistance fighter Heliodor Píka, victim of a communist judicial murder.

    As the president announced earlier, he also awarded the country’s highest state distinction to the outgoing Minister of Health Roman Prymula for his good work in managing the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic. The president likewise honoured selected members of the integrated rescue system in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

    The President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský received the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and military historian Eduard Stehlík was awarded a Medal of Merit.

    Czech pop idol Karel Gott, who died last year, was awarded in memoriam.

  • Church of St. Michael ravaged by fire


    The wooden Orthodox Church of St. Michael in the Kinský Garden in Prague was ravaged by fire on Wednesday afternoon. Despite efforts to save the 17th century building the main tower of the church collapsed and the church burnt down to the beams.

    The Church of St. Michael was relocated from the village of Medvědovce near Mukačevo in today’s Ukraine to Prague in 1929 to celebrate the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the annexation of Carpathian Ruthenia into then-Czechoslovakia. It is part of the collections of the Ethnographic Museum. No one was reported injured. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

  • Weather forecast


    Thursday should be cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.

  • PM tells Czechs: We will come out of this test stronger


    Speaking on the 102nd anniversary of the country’s founding, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called on Czechs to pull together to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country would come out of the test stronger and return to its former economic successes.

    Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib reminded Czechs that the country had overcome many crisis in the past and would do so again with solidarity and discipline.

    He said the dedication of the country’s doctors, nurses and emergency crews should serve as an inspiration in these difficult times.