NRW police swoop on ‘clan crime’, hitting gambling and car races

Police in North Rhine-Westphalia carried out sweeping raids against "clan criminality" early on Sunday, with searches focused in the Ruhr area.

NRW police swoop on 'clan crime', hitting gambling and car races
Police at the site of a raid in Duisburg on Sunday. Photo: DPA

In more than ten districts police raided shisha bars, betting shops, amusement arcades and cafes with clan connections. Hundreds of officers were involved.

Meanwhile during traffic controls, sports cars suspected of involvement in illegal racing were confiscated. 

The NRW state government has been taking a tough line against clan crime for over two years.

NRW Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul (CDU) described the strategy on Sunday as a “policy of a thousand pinpricks” and a “zero tolerance strategy”. Similar raids last took place in early 2019.

In the back of one internet café police found a room in which slot machines and card tables were set up. Access to the room was hidden behind a locker. The police suspect that the machines were not registered. 

In another bistro on the same street, officers found three presumably illegal gaming machines and a poker table.

Essen's police chief Frank Richter said that crimes related to gambling “could be an important pillar of criminal clans”.

Crimes of money laundering, tax evasion and illegal gambling are all now being investigated, he announced on Sunday.

The officials in Essen also acted against illegal car races. Officials stopped four illegal street races. Four cars with an estimated total value of over €400,000 were seized, including a sports car worth €250,000. 

In Duisburg, officials discovered a presumably illegal gambling hall. It was located in a supposed cafe, a police spokesman said. 

“The point is to show those who make these cities unsafe in everyday life that it's over,” said NRW Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul (CDU) during a visit to a site in Essen. 

Police in NRW say there are 104 criminal clans at work. In the years 2016 to 2018 alone, about 6,500 suspects from the scene are said to have been responsible for more than 14,000 criminal acts.

SEE ALSO: Police storm Duisburg bank, as robbers steal huge pile of cash

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