Update (correction): June 27th, 2020, 07:16 p.m. CEDT
In Berlin’s Neukölln borough, police conducted raids in Shisha bars and apartments last night. Prosecutors were on site as well. This latest activity was part of the efforts to fight organized crime in Berlin.
A big part of organized crime in Neukölln and other Berlin boroughs is being attributed to Arab family clans. In the past months, the authorities have vowed to fight these clans more. On a regular basis, they raid businesses owned by those families, and apartments.
Prosecutors on Site
In this case, 150 police officers were involved in the raids in Neukölln on Thursday. Late last night, Kreuzberg, a neighboring Berlin district, was supposed to be included as well. Prosecutors on site were collecting evidence. The same applied to tax investigators and the regulatory agency.
The police operation was being conducted in several phases. First, officers concentrated on Hermannplatz, a square between Neukölln and Kreuzberg which is a known hot spot for drug dealing and other kinds of crime.
In the evening, police started stopping cars on Sonnenallee and Hermannstraße. Here they mainly targeted drivers of expensive vehicles who keep on showing them off by racing up and down the street. Some of those checked might be part of the criminal clans Berlin is fighting increasingly. The operation led to traffic jams.
Upping the Ante
The third phase started later in the evening, when police raided Shisha bars and other businesses owned by the Arab clans or their associates. It was not the first time establishments of this kind were targeted by police. Upping the ante is what Berlin intends to do.
For years, certain family clans have posed a big problem. Their members do not recognize the authority of the German police or the state. They reportedly have their hands in all kinds of crime, including drugs and money laundering.
The clans wage war against each other too. Last a year, a member of one of the largest family clans was murdered in Tempelhof. Only a week ago, dozens of police officers raced towards Fuldastraße in Neukölln, where a big argument between clan members had erupted. One man was brutally attacked. A criminal stuck a knife into his back and injured him badly.
Out of Control
Berlin is intensifying its fight against dangerous clans. In addition to Neukölln and Kreuzberg, the authorities intend to get busy in several other boroughs as well, where the situation seems to have gotten out of control too.
The clans are being fought on several levels. For instance the tax authorities are looking for irregularities which might be a symptom of tax evasion or money laundering. In the meantime, police secure evidence during their raids.
Berlin wants to add a new division to its regulatory agency in order to be able to check more businesses for illegal activity. The municipality believes this step will put the clans under more pressure.
In April, police had launched one of the largest anti-clan raids to date, involving hundreds of police officers. Back then, Berlin’s Interior Senator Andreas Geisel vowed to continue fighting, for years to come.