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Berlin Continues Fight Against Criminal Clans in Spite of Corona

Berlin’s Senate put more pressure on criminal family clans in 2019. Numbers released this morning show there is a huge problem, and that the authorities are trying to bring it under control.

One of the main crime problems Berlin is confronted with is connected to family clans. They are spread all over the German capital and they work in several areas. Neither do they acknowledge Germany’s laws nor its authorities. At first, the problem caused mostly by Lebanese and some Eastern European clans was not being taken seriously.

Hundreds of Objects Raided

Then, one and a half years ago, Interior Senator Andreas Geisel upped the ante. He just had the latest numbers released. According to those, the Berlin Police Department launched 382 operation against criminal family clans in 2019, more than one per day. In many cases, hundreds of officers were involved. Police cooperated with other authorities in 104 operations.

Senator Geisel: “We could not tolerate the situation any longer.” Photo: Imanuel Marcus

A total of 702 objects were raided, searched and checked, including 190 Shisha bars, 322 cafés and similar establishments, 60 gambling halls and betting offices, several barber shops and jewelers owned by those clans. Countless violations were identified.

Thousands of Proceedings Initiated

Last year alone, police initiated as many as 5,908 proceedings because of infractions and filed 972 criminal charges. Some clans seem to be using bars and other businesses for money laundering. Especially in Berlin’s large Neukölln district, they own countless businesses.

“Last year, we increased the pressure”, Senator Geisel said on Monday. “In the area of clan crime, a parallel world had developed, with its own codex and the rejection of existing laws. We could not tolerate this situation any longer”, he stated. “That is why we made clear that the rules of this nation of law apply to absolutely everyone.”

Pressure in Spite of Corona

Andreas Geisel stressed that in 2020 nothing had changed what the Senate’s resolve was concerned, in spite of Corona. “We are upholding the pressure in all areas.” He mentioned recent investigations connected to the abuse of Corona aid programs as a “good example” for Berlin’s persistence.

Police Chief Barbara Slowik is fighting clan crime. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Berlin’s Police Chief Barbara Slowik has been involved in the fight against the clans as well. She stated the key to success was a combination of flexibility, perseverance and a proven approach. The insights the Police Department had gotten during operations and investigations showed which criminal fields of activity the clans were after. That way, the police had been able to prepare and react quickly.

Police Seize Drugs, Vehicles and Cash

According to the Senate Administration of the Interior, 35,000 Euro (38,000 U.S. Dollars or 31,000 Pounds Sterling) in drug money was seized in clan circles last year, along with almost 1,000 selling units of illegal substances, 31,000 untaxed cigarettes, 554 kilos of untaxed tobacco, 123 cars, 2 motorbikes and 104 weapons.

In 2018, the authorities had impounded 77 real estate objects worth millions of Euro and rental revenues. A recovery of two of the buildings was ordered by a court in April of 2020. In late 2018, Berlin introduced a 5-point plan for the fight against clan crime.

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