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Gang war in Vienna – “Different quality of escalation of violence”

Gang war in Vienna – “Different quality of escalation of violence”
Gang war in Vienna – “Different quality of escalation of violence”

Police speak of “different quality” and exceptional character in terms of escalation of violence

“We will not allow there to be places where people no longer dare to go,” said Dietmar Berger from the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in front of camera teams during an action at the U6 Jägerstraße station in Brigittenau that evening. The escalation of violence had reached “a different quality.”

  • Also read: Gunfire in Vienna-Floridsdorf – Suspect arrested

The fact that “people attack each other on the street” is not something the police see every day. “But thankfully it is the absolute exception,” the officer explained to media representatives about the reason for the increased police presence and checks at neuralgic points. The background to the actions is a conflict that has been simmering for months between Chechens on the one side and Syrians and Afghans on the other.

  • Video: “Gang war” in Vienna: “We will not allow this”

Berger spoke of “loosely organized connections” with regard to the structure of the groups, which had no connection to organized crime. The members – mostly young men – were sometimes embedded in family clans, “but there is no such thing as a capo,” as Berger said. He admitted that “last weekend was not an easy one for the Vienna police.” Nevertheless, he emphasized with regard to the incidents: “This is not at all comparable to clan crime as we know it from Germany.”

“It’s also about hurt honor”

“This area is about ethnic groups that have conflicts, it is about hurt honor, among other things. Berger ruled out “turf wars within the drug scene” as the roots of the conflicts based on “the current situation.”

The Cobra task force, the police dog unit, officers from the task force for combating street crime, the state traffic department and the Vienna task force alarm department (WEGA), as well as a large contingent of uniformed forces from the standby unit and from the federal states were among those deployed in the course of the actions on Wednesday.

  • Video: Does Vienna have a gang problem?

In Floridsorf, two groups met in a park near Bodenstedtgasse at around 6:15 p.m. A 13-year-old is said to have been threatened with a knife by an unknown person. When the police arrived a short time later, the suspect fled with several people. An immediate manhunt was unsuccessful. However, a total of 42 people were checked and 38 searched. A knuckleduster was confiscated from a 17-year-old and a folding knife was confiscated in the immediate vicinity. The police are now investigating on suspicion of serious coercion, the State Police Directorate reported this morning.

“Patrol service significantly increased”

In total, 453 people were checked or their identities were established as part of the priority areas, and 32 administrative and six criminal complaints were filed, it said. “Patrol duty was significantly increased in the affected areas, even outside of the stated priority areas, in order to ensure the maintenance of public peace, order and security and to intervene consistently in the event of criminal acts by groups of people,” said the State Police Directorate.

With regard to the investigations into the recent clashes, Berger expected further inquiries and arrests. “But that could take time,” he explained.

At the weekend, several men, some of them armed, engaged in violent clashes – first on Friday and Saturday in Brigittenau in the Anton-Kummerer-Park/Klosterneuburger Straße area, then at Meidling train station. A total of seven people were injured in the gang fights, four of them seriously. A 29-year-old man with Chechen roots was arrested. The man is in custody. He is being investigated for involvement in attempted murder. On Friday evening, he is said to have taken several Chechens to Anton-Kummerer-Park in his BMW, where veritable Wild West scenes ensued between Chechens and Syrians. The 29-year-old has not commented on the allegations.

Knives, blank guns and pepper sprays

With regard to the ongoing investigations into the incidents in Brigittenau, Berger explained that numerous knives, a blank-firing pistol and pepper spray had been confiscated. In addition, nine-millimeter cartridge cases were found after the incidents on Friday. According to Berger, the analysis of videos and cell phones and the questioning of witnesses are currently underway.

The investigation into the fight in Meidling is somewhat more challenging. “There are still two people in the hospital and they can’t really say much,” said Berger. That is why there is ongoing communication with the Federal Criminal Police Office and the State Office for State Protection and Extremism.

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