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Germany

Inside Berlin's Gang Scene - A Merger Makes Hells Angels Stronger, And Smarter

Hells Angels Mannheim, Germany
Hells Angels Mannheim, Germany
Michael Behrendt

BERLIN - The Berlin chapters of the Bandidos gang, whose members have a reputation for being armed and dangerous, had been considerably weakened of late with many members in jail. But the Berliner Morgenpost has learned from law enforcement officials that all 15 members of the “Midtown” chapter of the Bandidos – the last remaining chapter in Berlin -- have joined forces with their former arch-enemy, the Hells Angels.

This represents a nightmare for Berlin police. The rival groups often kept each other in check by violently trying to put a spoke in the wheel of their respective (illegal) activities -- but they are now united under one banner.

Head honcho of the newly-merged entity is a Turkish ex-boxer, Kadir P. A few years back he created a sensation when he took 70 Bandidos members with him and defected to the Hells Angels. According to one investigator familiar with the gang scene, Kadir P.’s successful tactics are a “cleverly woven web.”

In police circles, he’s known as “Kadir Capone” after the legendary mafia boss. “The virtually complete disappearance of the Bandidos in Berlin opens the doors wide to organized crime in our city,” this source says.

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Photo: Thomas Angermann

The defection itself took place earlier this year, and went completely unnoticed. The former Bandidos are not yet full Hells Angels; they remain “prospects” until they prove their value to the community. However becoming a “prospect” immediately shows that the new members are already considered important to that community.

Intelligent thug

In the past, Hells Angels and Bandidos in Berlin and its surrounding area were known for their vicious knife and machete fights during which many members suffered severe injuries and the near amputation of limbs.

According to one crime investigator: “With that history, the fact that these guys are now joining forces as if nothing happened shows that bottom line all that really matters to them is money.”

Earning cash by whatever means is the focal point of these gangs’ agenda. Revenues come in not only from weapons deals, prostitution, racketeering and drugs, but also controlling the doors of nightclubs. "If you control the doors you also control what goes on behind them," says one high-level police official. "You control who gets in, and who provides the drugs for the club’s clientele.”

The Bandidos members who recently defected to the Hells Angels, and their 33-year-old leader, are known on the nightclub scene as particularly ruthless players. "Winning them over to their side means that the Hells Angels not only have one less competitor, they have real pros that have all the contact details of the most important people in this industry,” says the official. “Hells Angels only stands to benefit from that.”

Meanwhile Kadir P. may be looking to also join up with the Danish Hells Angels – Hells Angels "Denmark" is not outlawed in Berlin. According to crime investigators, it won’t be easy for German authorities to ban a foreign club. "At the end of the day, Kadir P. is not going to be worrying about what chapter of what country he and his followers are in. He knows who he is. And the crime world knows who he is. That’s enough."

The Berlin police know him too. And in Kadir P., they have not just a powerful but an intelligent foe. "That’s what makes him so dangerous," says the official.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Western Tanks To Ukraine Trigger Russian Threats — But Also Fears Of Major Counterattack

Germany and the U.S. overcame months of reluctance in the past 24 hours to commit to sending heavy combat tanks to Ukraine. Russia responded with official bluster, but others in Moscow fear that the tanks delivery could be a gamechanger on the battlefield.

Picture of recently mobilized Russian troops

Recently mobilized Russian troops getting ready to depart for service

Cameron Manley

A week of growing expectations of a coming Russian offensive was turned on its head Wednesday as Germany and the U.S. announced their intention to send heavy combat tanks to Ukraine.

The sudden show of resolve on supplying tanks — after months of reluctance, particularly from Germany — has prompted some Russians to fear that Ukraine will now be equipped for a major counterattack. That would be significant reversal after speculation had been growing this month about a Russian spring offensive.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government confirmed Wednesday morning that Berlin plans to send at least 14 German-built Leopard 2 tanks to the frontline. U.S. media also reported that Joe Biden’s administration is expected to officially announce Washington's commitment, with at least 30 M1 Abrams tanks expected to be sent.

The timeline remains unclear as to when the vehicles would make it into combat. Still, both sides on the war acknowledged that it is a significant development with the potential to change the math on the battlefield.

Official Russian response was loaded with typical incendiary rhetoric. Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian president Vladimir Putin, said the new tanks would "burn like all the rest, only these ones are expensive.”

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