German police conduct raids linked to illegal gambling

Hundreds of police officers have searched shisha bars, tea houses and illegal gambling halls across western Germany

BERLIN —
Hundreds of police officers searched shisha bars, tea houses and illegal gambling halls across western Germany early Sunday.

The officers confiscated 34,000 euros (around $40,000) in cash, 19 gambling machines and three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of shisha tobacco, the German news agency dpa reported. Eleven stores were shut down because of violations against coronavirus measures.

Nobody was detained, but the raids were also connected to suspected money laundering and tax evasion.

The interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where most of the raids took place, said the police actions were an important signal to show that the state is implementing a zero-tolerance strategy against this kind of crime.

“It’s about showing those, who are destabilizing everyday life in these cities, it’s over,” state interior minister Herbert Reul said. “Here, the rule of states is valid, not that of the family.”

The state’s alleges that many of the illegal gambling halls are run by immigrant families.

Raids were conducted in the cities of Essen, Bochum, Herne, Witten, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Wuppertal and the county of Mettmann, dpa reported.