German police carry out raids against Arab clans

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On Wednesday, German police officers carried out large-scale raids due to ongoing organized crime between clans in Berlin and Hamburg. They focused on large families of Arab origin and their connection to motorcycle gangs. According to German media, the Arab clans are suspected of laundering money through real estate.
The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office said that officers searched 33 flats and other premises in the morning hours and arrested three people. The detainees were men aged 23 to 26, members of Arab family clans with German citizenship. The police are still looking for two 21-year-old men with the same background.
Among the suspects are also members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. A total of 36 people of various nationalities are under investigation.
Around 500 police officers from the Berlin and Federal Police, including the SEK and GSG 9 special units, were deployed to carry out the raids.
The Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the creation of a criminal organization, forced debt collection, fraud and drug trafficking.
According to the Office, the perpetrators assembled “a significant amount of property,” and the police confirmed that the aim of the raids was to secure such property and any evidence.
According to the Bild and B.Z. dailies, arrest warrants were issued in connection with real estate transactions, and the house searches focused on the Berlin city districts of Mitte, Charlottenburg and Spandau.
Clan and organized crime have been a matter of concern in Berlin and other federal states for some time. For example, in November, police detained three suspects from a Berlin clan in connection to last year’s jewelry theft of incalculable value from the historic Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) treasury in Dresden.
Title image: German police officers guard the square in front of the European Central Bank against a demonstration in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, May 18, 2012. Police in Germany temporarily detained some 400 demonstrators during largely peaceful protests by Occupy activists. The protest group, calling itself Blockupy, sought to stage protests over the weekend and called for barring access to the European Central Bank, which is located in the downtown business district of continental Europe’s biggest financial hub. Some 5,000 police officers were set to keep the weekend protests in check. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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