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CRIME

Northern biker gangs banned amid deadly feud

In the wake of a bloody biker feud across Germany, the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein has outlawed chapters of the notorious Hell’s Angels and Bandido gangs, the regional government announced Thursday.

Northern biker gangs banned amid deadly feud
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Klaus Schlie announced that the Flensburg chapter of the Hell’s Angels and the Neumünster chapter of the Bandidos were being banned on the grounds they were a threat to the constitutional order.

Some 300 police officers, including crack special forces commandos, raided 10 properties of gang members along with the club houses of the two chapters in Flensburg and Neumünster.

“The searches were for the purposes of investigation, seizure and recovery of the clubs’ property,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The two clubs had “the essential aim of setting up criminal mastery over a specific region and to enforce the claim to power against the other club with violence using weapons,” Schlie said.

“This isn’t about harmless motorcycle clubs whose members meet peacefully on the weekends,” he said.

The image of respectable, motorcycling fathers who simply liked to ride in their spare time was a “public relations myth of these clubs,” Schlie said.

Two clubs erupted into open warfare last year after the Bandidos tried to get a foothold in Germany’s northern-most state, where nine Hells Angels clubs and crews are located.

In June, police responded to a shooting at a house in Neumünster. Four shots were fired into the living room window but no one was hurt.

The clubs were to be dismantled without delay, Schlie added.

“Any activity, or the formation of replacement organisations, is forbidden to them,” he said. “The clubs badges must no longer be used or displayed in public.”

However, he could not rule out further violence between the clubs’ members, despite the ban.

The Hells Angels were banned in Hamburg in 1986, but have continued to operate under different names, including ”Red-White,” the club’s colours, or ”Harbour City.”

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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