Russian tourist arrested over stabbing of Helsinki taxi-driver


A Helsinki taxi-driver was stabbed in a violent robbery on Saturday evening, suffering severe wounds to the throat. He remains in intensive care, but is reported to be recovering after emergency surgery.

Police launched a large-scale operation on Saturday evening after the stabbing came to light, with the entire Katajanokka district of the capital locked down and pedestrians, cars, buses, and trams all being searched.

A police dog patrol rapidly caught up with the suspect, who had been identified by four eye-witnesses.

The young Russian man has admitted the crime. He is not a resident of Finland, but was here on a short visit on a four-day visa.

The full circumstances of the robbery are as yet unclear, as the victim has not been interviewed by police, but it is believed the assailant got into the taxi at around 8 p.m on Saturday evening and asked to be driven to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, and from there back to Helsinki.

The actual attack took place in Katajanokka at around 21:20.

Attacks on taxi-drivers are relatively uncommon in the Helsinki area.

In 2001 there were two fatal incidents in Oulu and Lahti in which cab-drivers were shot, in 2002 a tax-driver was stabbed to death in Savonlinna, and another fatal stabbing took place in Vaasa in November 2004.

Many taxis have now installed cameras, and in this instance the perpetrator was captured on film, although it did not prevent the attack.

For some years, taxi-drivers have spoken of installing a plexiglass window between the driver and the passengers, as are used in Sweden, but there are issues over collecting fares.