• Germany's news in English

Police watched as brothel visitors drugged, robbed

The Local · 13 Jul 2012, 16:52

Published: 13 Jul 2012 16:52 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Now questions are being asked whether the authorities recklessly put the men’s lives at risk by not stepping in to stop the attacks.

Although the arrest of pimp turned docu-soap star Bert Wollersheim - nicknamed the “Red Light King” - represented something of a coup for Dusseldorf police earlier this month, Police Special Commission Chief Roland Wolff admitted, “It’s a wonder that nobody ended up dead.”

The investigators could have been guilty of accessory, facilitation of a crime or failure to render assistance as they watched while the customers were drugged and robbed, criminology professor Christian Pfeiffer told Friday’s Express regional newspaper.

The brothel operator, 61-year-old Bert Wollersheim became a household name in Germany after starring in a television docu-soap “The Wollersheims.” He was among 11 men arrested in nationwide raids earlier this month.

Those arrested have been accused of systematically drugging clients with alcohol, cocaine and date rape drugs to gain access to credit cards.

The Dusseldorf-based group is thought to have gained at least €100,000 in this way, although the final figure could be much higher.

“Organised crime must be confronted, even in a covert way, by listening in and using telephone wire taps,” Pfeiffer told the newspaper.

“However, when the structure of a criminal organisation comes to light and there are fears that there might be more victims, then the police should have acted to protect lives,” he said.

“The suggestion that it was fortunate that there were no deaths shows just how dangerous the situation was.”

The victims, clients at four high-class brothels, were always photographed surrounded by prostitutes and bottles of champagne, so the gang could blackmail them later.

The professor said that one vital principal of law-enforcement - that safety should come before the pursuit of justice - appeared to have been ignored.

Express said it had discovered that police and prosecutors had carried out a risk assessment on the danger posed to client’s health, as well as their bank accounts.

“Whether they had assessed the nature of the danger in good time and whether they crossed the boundaries of what would normally be deemed acceptable, must be carefully looked at,” said Pfeiffer.

The allegations came to light some two years ago, through a 31-year-old witness known as Christian K. The investigation by undercover officers began 11 months ago, and involved telephone wire taps, bugging cars and analysing bank transaction data.

Story continues below…

In all, some 17 alleged victims of drugging were discovered, the drugs having been added to their drinks. A further 40 clients later reported via a telephone hotline that they had been victims.

In the raids, officers uncovered €150,000 in cash, as well as a significant quantity of cocaine, amphetamines and other medical drugs, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported at the time.

Wollersheim, who has more than 8,000 fans on Facebook, remains under investigation - along with 80 suspected members and associates of his Dusseldorf-based gang.

The Local/rc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:32 July 13, 2012 by Englishted
Will any of this find its way to you tube ?,you never know.
20:26 July 13, 2012 by realist1961
That's why I tell my friends to never take their wallet to a brothel. I'm also confused on this so called "date rape drug". Would you call it that in this situation? I mean, isn't that what they are paying for?
21:39 July 13, 2012 by MaKo
Victimized! By evidence of their own doings! Is there no justice for the visitors of brothels? Do the police protect and serve no one?
Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd