Members of a notorious Kurdish clan in Bremen have founded a new chapter of the Mongols motorcycle club and are challenging the Hells Angels in the city. The police fear a new biker war may be just around the corner.
In August, Mustafa B. and almost two dozen members of his clan had founded a local chapter of the Mongols, an international motorcycle club. It was the first time in Germany that members of a Muslim immigrant clan which is believed to be involved in organized crime have been active in this area.
Investigators in Bremen now fear the move will herald the outbreak of another bloody biker war that could quickly spread to other cities. Another, no less comforting, possibility is that the Hells Angels and the Kurdish gang will join forces. "We're keeping an eye on both developments with great concern," says Bremen police detective Harald Habethal.
One thing is certain: The immigrants are not interested in emulating an "Easy Rider"-type lifestyle. According to investigators, the new bikers have neither motorbikes nor the requisite motorcycle license. Whenever they cruise through Bremen's downtown area, they drive powerful cars. Mustafa B. was the only member of the clan who had actually gotten his license, two weeks before his untimely death. "We suspect that the members of ethnic clans are interested in developing new structures and trading channels," says Andreas Weber, the head of Bremen's State Office of Criminal Investigation. The Mongols are believed to be involved in drug dealing in the US and southern Europe. The Bremen Mongols could therefore have much to gain from cooperation with gangs elsewhere.
The Bremen police believe that the Kurdish clan already controls the city's drugs trade. The clan is part of a group of Mhallamiye Kurds who emigrated to Germany from Lebanon in the 1980s. They have made little effort to integrate into German society, and primarily live off welfare and shady businesses like drug dealing and prostitution. Most of them live in Bremen, Berlin and the western city of Essen. Police estimate that the Bremen clan has at least 2,600 members. They are already investigating about half of them. A total of 66 family members are considered to be particularly hardened criminals.
* Germany: Kurdish-Lebanese criminal clans
* Bremen: Immigrants responsible for 70% of juvenile crimes