BERLIN ( Associated Press) – Austrian police have arrested a 54-year-old man who attacked two social workers with pepper spray after they discovered he was illegally staying with a woman and six young children at a private winery in the northeast. was living since monday.
Police in the Lower Austrian province were still trying to identify the six children, aged between 7 months and 5 years.
Residents of Obritz, a small town near the Czech border, alerted authorities last week that a family was living illegally in a basement.
“Residents sometimes hear children’s voices in the basement,” the city’s deputy mayor Erich Greil told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “When they (neighbours) came near, he would keep quiet.”
When two social workers arrived to check on the children on Thursday, police said the man attacked them with pepper spray and locked the basement door.
Social workers called the police, who reached the spot and arrested the youth. When police searched the basement, they found a woman and six children, believed to be the couple and their children.
Police also found several weapons including a pistol, crossbow and BB gun.
According to the police, the man said that the children were born in England. Police said they were not officially registered in Austria and that they were working to confirm the identities of the children.
A police spokesperson said the children were taken to a nearby hospital and were not neglected. They are now in the custody of social services.
The local press reported that the man is a follower of the Citizens of the Reich movement, a far-right group that believes the original Reich still exists. The Austrian authorities have not confirmed this information.