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CRIME

’Ndrangheta Mafia seen firmly established in Germany

The dreaded ’Ndrangheta clan of the Italian Mafia has established a growing foothold in Germany, according to a report from the Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BKA) obtained by weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

’Ndrangheta Mafia seen firmly established in Germany
The murder scene in Duisburg. Photo: DPA

The officials believe there are 229 family clans of the Calabria-based ’Ndrangheta active in Germany. Many of the 900 members are found in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

The paper reported on Thursday that much of the criminal activity carried out by the German-based Mafia members includes arms trafficking, murder, money laundering, drug trafficking, toxic waste disposal and extortion. The 400-page report also lists hundreds of German restaurants under Mafia control.

The ’Ndrangheta Mafia clan is based in the Calabrian region of Italy, located right on the country’s “toe.” Despite its geographical proximity to Sicily, the ’Ndrangheta clan operates separately from the Sicilian Cosa Nostra clan.

The ’Ndrangheta first made its presence in Germany known almost two years ago when six Italians in Duisburg were shot dead in front of their restaurant. The apparent motive was a feud between the family that owned the restaurant and a family of the clan. Giovanni Strangio, who operated two pizzerias in the area, and his brother-in-law Giuseppe Nirta have both been arrested for the crime.

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OKTOBERFEST

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich’s Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

Around 700,000 people braved the wet and cold weather to attend the first weekend of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, according to estimates by festival management.

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

That is significantly less than the around one million visitors seen in 2019, the last time the festival took place as the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

“We want the weather gods to remember what decent Wies’n [Oktoberfest] weather looks like,” festival head and CSU politician Clemens Baumgärtner said, German news agency DPA reported.

Man and woman in lederhosen at Oktoberfest

A man and a woman in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses arrive for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich on September 17, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival opened on Saturday and the first guests were already queuing outside the entrances before sunrise to secure their spot at the front of a beer tent when the site was opened. The first tents closed their doors around noon.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants of the traditional costume parade of the Oktoberfest beer festival arrive on September 18, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But the Schottenhamel tent (the oldest at the Oktoberfest) spokesperson, Christian Schottenhamel, said the numbers of people visiting the tents this year were similar to that seen in 2019, DPA said.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants dressed as fools perform during the festival’s traditional costume parade on September 18, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

He reported that the atmosphere was euphoric, with people just happy to be celebrating Oktoberfest again.

Oktoberfest beer tent visitors

The first visitors arrive and reserve places in a beer tent during the opening of the festival on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival has attracted a mixed audience so far, including families with children and visitors from abroad, such as from the United States and France.

But the spokesperson for the smaller tents, Otto Lindinger, said the audience was getting younger, noting strong demand for meat-free dishes, although the Oktoberfest chicken was said to still be a hit.

Visitors celebrate at Oktoberfest

Visitors jostle for a Maß in a beer tent at the Oktoberfest on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Over on the south side of the festival area, head of the museum tent Yvonne Heckl described the atmosphere in the traditional ‘Oide Wies’n’, or old Oktoberfest, area as “chilled and calm”.

The festival lasts until October 3rd, as German Unity Day falls on the Monday after the last Oktoberfest Sunday.

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