Immigrant Beggars Quit Norway After TV Exposé Links Them To Organized Crime

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By Kieran Corcoran | 4:44 am, April 26, 2017
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Street beggars in Norway are packing up and heading home after their business was soured by a TV exposé linking their activities to organized crime.

A proportion of panhandlers in major cities have bought plane tickets back to their native Romania after facing increased hostility.

A local newspaper in the city of Bergen quoted a charity worker saying that 11 beggars were heading back to Romania, more than 1,000 miles away.

It followed a report on Norwegian public TV exposing a network of 140 Romanians who blended begging, prostitution and credit card theft to fund their lifestyles.

Undercover documentary Lykkelandet (“Land of Happiness”) followed members of the crime gang as they fleeced Norwegians of cash and sent some of it back home.

The film caused a public outcry and prompted the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, to discourage the public from giving to beggars. A popular backlash has reportedly hurt the begging business significantly – driving many beggars home.

An article in the Bergens Tidende newspaper, translated by Norwegian news site TheLocal.noreported a local charity had handed out cash to help beggars afford the airfares, likely to have been in excess of $200 per head.

A spokesman for the Robin Hood-huset charity said: “They say it is unsafe and unpleasant to be in Bergen now.”

He said beggars reported being hit and verbally abused in the street – acts that are usually very rare in famously tolerant Norway.

Local politicians have condemned a local rise in hate crime.