Bulgarian Mayor Caught Red-Handed at Poaching Party
The Mayor of Sozopol, a Regional Police officer and three of their companions from Sozopol and Primorsko have been caught poaching in the protected area of Kozarka.
The high-ranking poachers were caught by foresters on Sunday afternoon.
Kozarka, part of the Ropotamo reserve, is close to Vesselie village, Malko Turnovo municipality, the Ministry of the Interior – Burgas announced.
Two foresters on a mobile patrol heard shots and noticed a group of men gathered around a pregnant hind that had been shot. When they tried to detain them, three of them ran off and got into a Mercedes parked nearby; this turned out to be Mayor Reizi's car. The car was stopped by the police, who had been notified by the foresters.
When detained, Panayot Reizi explained he had nothing to do with the shooting - he claimed he went to "pick mushrooms". By chance, Reizi had with him a hunting rifle already assembled for action. The others all denied having shot at the animal.
The detained "mushroom pickers" gave their explanations at the Regional Police Station in Primorsko until late on Sunday afternoon. Five of the sports guns have been handed over to experts, in order to establish with which one the doe was shot.
Formal charges will be made by the Ministry of the Interior against police officer Radostin Shterionov. According to the Law on Hunting and Game, the fine of up to BGN 5 000 cannot be less than three times the actual damage incurred. In this specific case the fine is BGN 15 000.
The guns and permits of the hunters will be confiscated. The Sozopol Mayor has been accused of "going about with an assembled gun, without permit, out of its case." According to Art. 237 of the Criminal Code, if his guilt is proven, the punishment is up to one year’s imprisonment or a fine of BGN 300 and a ban from further hunting activities.
At a press conference following the event, the Director of the Regional Inspectorate of Forests (RIF) in Burgas, Rumen Zhelev, announced that they had received a number of tip-offs that the Mayor of Sozopol is a poacher. He added that mayors, magistrates and high-ranking policemen have regularly been caught hunting illegally.
In these cases the pressure on employees of the inspectorate is enormous, he said, adding that their high profiles obstruct the work of detaining such persons.
Some hunters contacted foresters and forest-guards; by bribing them, they could poach freely. In most cases, their actions were not organised. But foresters had also caught organized poaching groups, and this last one was – Sozopol mayor Reizi and police officer Shterionov, said Zhelev.
At the moment Inspectorate is working on establishing the identities of an entire gang of 17 poachers. Similar incidents also occur with illegal tree-felling in the forests.
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It is clear that these people have difficulties to obey the law. They think that they have done so many good things for society, that now and then they are above the law. To be an example for the citizens is unknown to them. Unfortunately, BG has too many people like this in the authorities.
Just plain village common criminals. Everyone knows that the "VIP" of Bulgaria are the ones that are commiting all types of crimes but when they get caught they produce their VIP ID's and call a few friends and all is forgotten. This is why the Police and other authorties don't want to deal -with them because they are afraid to see what will happen to them for doing their jobs.
Someone should make an example of this behavior but I doubt anything will happen. All will be either forgotten or a confusing leagal wrangle will start and nothing will finish.