Body Hunt: Police Stage Major Raids on German Hells Angels
They were looking for a body, and ended up shooting a dog. Some 1,000 police took part in a series of raids on sites linked to the Hells Angels outlaw biker club in northern Germany on Thursday morning. Several arrests were made in the search for evidence in connection with various crimes, including human and weapons trafficking.
Around 1,000 German police took part in a massive series of raids at sites linked to the Hells Angels motorcycle club on Thursday morning, making several arrests and shooting a dog.
In the northern German states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, officers searched some 80 locations, including brothels, restaurants and apartments, law enforcement sources said.
The elite police special forces unit GSG-9 even dropped from a helicopter into the backyard of one of the club's leaders, Frank Hanebuth, in the northern German port city of Kiel, shooting his dog during the operation.
Among other evidence, police were reportedly searching for the body of a Turkish man they believe may have come into conflict with the outlaw motorcycle gang. The investigation is focused on allegations of human and weapons trafficking, in addition to bodily harm and blackmail, a police spokeswoman said. She did not reveal how many Hells Angels members were suspected of the crimes.
Hells Angels leader Hanebuth responded to the raids via his lawyer on Thursday afternoon. "He completely denies the false accusations," Götz von Fromberg told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "The state prosecutor in Kiel is investigating a number of the accused, including my client Frank Hanebuth, on a number of allegations, none of which I believe Mr. Hanebuth was involved in."
Hanebuth, thought to be one of the country's most influential members of the Hells Angels, is suspected of either knowing about or abetting the crimes of fellow bikers.
"The Lower Saxony authorities have been trying for some time to criminalize my client, so far without success. Now they have apparently gotten their Kiel colleagues on board," he added, referring to the capital of Schleswig-Holstein.
Fromberg also criticized the way the raid was conducted. "The police operation was excessive at first, the special forces even shot a young dog belonging to my client." He also alleged that no evidence was recovered during the raid.
The operations come two years after police in northern Germany shut down clubs belonging to both the Hells Angels and another similar group, the Bandidos.
-- kla, with wire reports
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