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Paper: Criminal gangs on the increase

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) says criminal gangs have expanded their activities to more localities in Finland, the regional daily Keskisuomalainen reported in its Sunday edition.

Image: YLE

In the course of this year, nine new criminal cells have been established. For example, the Hell’s Angels have set up a cell in the Central Finnish town of Jämsä. It is thought the gang is aiming to expand operations in northern and western Finland.

The NBI believes a total of 84 groups are operating, half of which are linked to motorcycle gangs. Around half of the groups are primarily involved in narcotics related crime. Other criminal activities include violent assaults, white collar crime and theft.

Just over a decade ago organized crime was confined to just a few localities. Today some 1,150 people are involved, 95 percent of whom are born in Finland. The NBI says the principal gangs are most likely the Hell’s Angels MC, Bandidos MC, Cannonball MC and United Brotherhood.

Connections to radical groups

According to the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo), Finnish criminal gangs also have contacts with representatives of radical groups. Chief Inspector Tuomas Portaankorva, interviewed by the Jyväskylä-based newspaper Keskisuomalainen did not elaborate as to what groups were involved or where they operated.

“Individual gang members are known to have contacts with representatives from radical groups but, at the moment, we do not believe these constitute a threat to national security,” remarked Portaankorva.

Pan-European problem

Keeping tabs on gang-related crime in Finland is the task of the NBI. In the bureau’s view, criminal gangs pose a growing danger across the whole of Europe.

”Intelligence data and reported criminal activity indicates that the four main groups operating in Finland are constantly growing in strength and constitute an increasing menace to society. The picture has changed and the problem is acute throughout the EU,” warns Superintendent Jussi Oksanen of the NBI’s Intelligence Division.

Sources: Yle

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