Saturday, 2 April 2011

Police target Turkish social clubs, was it a success?

A police press release, mentioned briefly in the Hackney Gazette on March 10, described raids on Turkish social clubs that took place at the end of February.

Nothing particularly significant was found, at least not compared to raids on suspected Turkish gang-related properties back in 2003. Back then the police arrested several people and found guns, machetes, stolen mobile phones counterfeit money and a torture chamber with hooks suspended from the ceiling and electric cables allegedly used to discipline Turkish businessmen who didn't pay protection money.

The motives for the recent raids was concern about recent gun incidents and they will have been alarming in the context of the outbreak of a gang war of 2009... (Blood and Property had a look at the links between Turkish crime and Turkish Politics last year).

On the face of it the raids didn't turn up much but may be they're more focused on improving police relations with the Turkish community?

The police said: "The operation was planned as a result of recent incidents involving firearms in the vicinity of Turkish sports and social clubs on the borough, as well as heightened concern from Hackney’s Turkish community."

Four venues were targeted on the night:

Karadeniz Club - 109 Green Lanes, N5
What the police found: Three unlicensed gaming machines seized. Closure notice served on the premises, following several firearms-related incidents in the vicinity of the club.

Dilligra Social Club - 113 Green Lanes, N5
What the police found: Seven unlicensed gaming machines seized.

Efes Snooker Hall, Stoke Newington Road, N16
What the police found:The premises was found to be abstracting electricity to the value of several thousand pounds. By arrangement with EDF Energy, the owner has since paid this bill in full.

Adana Social Club, 59 Stoke Newington High Street, N16
What the police found: Ten unlicensed gaming machines identified.

Prosecutions for violation of gambling law may follow. Other venues identified by Hackney Police as worthy of attention will be subject to an education programme, to ensure licensees are clear of their responsibilities.

Detective Sergeant Simon Smith of Hackney Borough’s Intelligence Unit, said: “This operation was a great success and demonstrated our commitment to ensuring the safety of all communities in Hackney. During the operation we were approached by many members of the Turkish community, expressing their approval at police action.”

Chief Inspector Jane Easton of Hackney Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “We have disrupted the activities of the small minority of licensees who think they can act outside the law. We will be keeping a close watch on these venues and others to ensure that they remain a safe environment for their clientele and operate in a responsible fashion.”

Blood and Property tried to untangle some of convoluted world of Turkish crime and Turkish politics - not sure how successful it was but an interesting story of intrigue and corruption non-the-less.

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