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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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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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