1988
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Gangsters on the run: journalist with hostage-taker Degowski in a car

Gangsters on the run: journalist with hostage-taker Degowski in a car
Source: dpa

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Themen

Media

Coming to you live!

Journalists and passers-by enjoy a "frisson of death" as the Gladbeck hostage-takers park their getaway car right in the middle of Cologne on 18 August 1988.

A bank robbery in Gladbeck on 16 August. The gangsters, Degowski, Rösner and a girlfriend, take two women hostage. The men are known to be extremely violent and brutal.

Following behind, the police are unable to find a strategy for ending the chase without endangering the two women's lives. When the fugitives stop in Cologne city centre on 18 August, journalists come right up to their vehicle.

Hoping for a scoop, they do interviews with the gun-wielding criminals - anything for a good story. One reporter even gets into the car to convey the thrill of this cops-and-robbers exclusive.

On the motorway the bulletpolice finally close in as the men speed south towards Frankfurt. In the ensuing shoot-out, the terrified hostage, 18-year-old Silke Bischof, is killed.

While police tactics are heavily criticised, the behaviour of journalists is also called into question. Does the craving for sensation justify giving violent criminals a media platform?

Dirk Bitzer

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