Novelty merchant raided over 'lunar subdivision'

25th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

25 May 2004 , LANDSHUT – German police have raided a novelty-gifts company that promises customers the stars, in the form of land certificates for the moon and other heavenly bodies. The offices of the company, Astrox, have been raided on suspicion of fraud, prosecutors in the southern town of Landshut said. Some customers might believe they owned 1,000 square metres of the moon's surface after paying EUR 29, a spokesman said. Holger Czajka, the founder of Astrox, said the certificates were simply an unusu

25 May 2004

LANDSHUT – German police have raided a novelty-gifts company that promises customers the stars, in the form of land certificates for the moon and other heavenly bodies.

The offices of the company, Astrox, have been raided on suspicion of fraud, prosecutors in the southern town of Landshut said. Some customers might believe they owned 1,000 square metres of the moon's surface after paying EUR 29, a spokesman said.

Holger Czajka, the founder of Astrox, said the certificates were simply an unusual gift. He was sure the inquiry would peter out.

Astrox not only markets personalized horoscopes, but says it will also re-name prominent stars in the sky after customers - for a fee.

For the truly star-crazed, there are pieces of paper declaring the holder to be the proprietor of land on the moon, Mars or Venus.

The more practical can "adopt" an olive tree in Spain for one year, and receive two litres of cooking oil from their "child".

Reports about Czajka, 45, who hung up his East German army officer hat to make money out of novelties, are a mainstay in the German media on slow days when nothing else is happening. Czajka claims to have bought a large area of the moon from American Dennis Hope.

In 1980, Hope exploited a wrinkle in US law to register ownership of the moon. His claim is not taken seriously by the United States or any other country. Various online shops, 10 of them in Germany, offer "land certificates" for lunar subdivisions.

Prosecutors in Germany said the inquiry began after a fraud complaint from an unidentified association. They said sales brochures were seized and were being examined to see if they were legal.

DPA

Subject: German news

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