German police launch massive crackdown on Hells Angels group

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(photo gallery)--Hundreds of police officers have moved to raid apartments and seize property of a Hells Angels' charter in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Concrete City biker club is said to include "proven criminals."

The northwestern German state formally banned the Concrete City charter and its supporter club Clan 81 and launched a crackdown against the groups on Wednesday.

Some 700 police officers were involved in the crackdown in over a dozen German cities, including Cologne, Wuppertal, and Düsseldorf in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Special police units, experts on organized crime, and people acquainted with the "biker scene" also took part in the effort.

Read more: Hells Angels member charged in Frankfurt shooting

Police takes out two jackets with Hells Angels' symbols (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Weihrauch)

Police raided over 50 locations in 16 cities and towns

NRW state Interior Minister Herbert Reul said that both "the purpose and the activity of biker clubs and their supporters goes against the law."

"The members of the clubs are proven criminals. Their everyday life consists of violence, weapons, drugs, and forced prostitution," Reul said in a statement.

Hells Angels were attempting to lay claim to "power and territory" in their turf wars with rival clubs, he added.

"The state will not tolerate the growth of these parallel societies that disregard its authority and its monopoly on legitimate use of force," according to the minister.

Years of violence

The police crackdown is expected to continue until Wednesday afternoon. The coordinated action has been unfolding "without any incident," a police spokesman said.

The authorities have so far seized bikes, cash, and computers belonging to the two groups, as well as bikers' "cuts" — the vests bearing symbols of their association.

Read more: Cologne police raid Hells Angels hideout

Violent clashes between biker factions and biker-related crimes are relatively common in Germany, which boasts over 70 Hells Angels charters. In NRW, members of the world's most famous motorcycle club have a history of bloody rivalry with the Bandidos, also an international biker association.

Read moreHamburg police arrests suspects in possible biker clash

A leader of a Hells Angels faction, Aygün Mucuk, was gunned down in the clubhouse in Wettenberg a year ago.

Earlier this year, around 40 Hells Angels members attempted to break through a police checkpoint in Cologne, allegedly to disrupt the birthday party for the local Bandidos leader. The police later raided the clubhouse, finding a weapons, a case of ammunition, and a machete.

Last month, four Hells Angels bikers went on trial in Leipzig over a 2016 murder of a biker from a rival gang.

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