Dutch police arrest 19 in raids on outlaw biker gangs
Dutch police Wednesday arrested at least 19 bikers, many of whom are suspected members of the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang in a massive crackdown to contain rising tensions between groups in the south.
"In a combined operation, police and prosecutors raided more than 30 premises and arrested 19 people," in southern Limburg and Brabant provinces, as well as in Belgium and Germany, police said in a statement as the operation continued.
"The raids are based on a long-running investigation into criminal activities. Most of those arrested are members of the Bandido outlaw motorcycle gang," police said.
The raids follow concerns about rising tensions over turf between so-called "one-percenter" or outlaw motorcycle gangs, including the Bandidos and the Hells Angels.
The Bandidos last year opened its first local club, or chapter, in the Netherlands in the small southern city of Sittard and observers say the moved raised hackles among bitter rivals Hells Angels.
The province has since seen a rise in violent incidents including hand grenades thrown at homes and fights between rival gangs.
Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur visited the region Monday to discuss the growing tensions and said he would look into changing laws to combat outlaw biker groups.
The biker clubs are often connected with organised crime including drug running, prostitution and gun trafficking.
Earlier this month nine people died and nearly 200 were arrested after a fight between rival gangs in Texas in what authorities are probing as the result of a "turf war."
© 2015 AFP