• Austria's news in English
Vienna gang arrested for extorting bar owners

Vienna gang arrested for extorting bar owners

The Local · 8 Apr 2016, 11:45

Published: 08 Apr 2016 11:45 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The months long investigation into the gang came to a dramatic conclusion early in the morning on March 22nd when the homes of the suspects were stormed and they were arrested.

The defendants - who all deny the accusations - include seven men and one woman aged between 23 and 38-years-old.

They are accused of threatening to hurt the owners of several bars and one mobile phone shop in Vienna unless they hired the gang members as bouncers of their establishments, paying them a salary that went into the gang’s coffers.

The new ‘security guards’ were paid a hundreds of euros for the ‘protection’ and in some cases between €10,000 and €100,000, according to the head of the office for organised crime Andreas Holzer. Demands were even made from one victim for €1.5 million.

The gang, who mainly targeted businesses on Ottakringer Straße and Märzstraße, reportedly spent the money on fancy cars, luxury items and expensive clothing brands.

Some business owners were so intimidated they sold their bars rather than have to deal with the criminals. Others had their cars set on fire and received notes saying “next time, your house will burn”.

Story continues below…

The extortion scheme is thought to have been operating since 2013 but only came to the police’s attention in Autumn 2015 when a group of business owners rallied together to file a joint complaint.

Authorities believe the alleged main suspect - 37-year-old Edin D. - may also be connected to the shooting dead of a customer in the Cafe Cappuccino in Ottakringer Straße in 2006, which became known as the 'Cappuccino murder'.

Authorities are calling for anyone who thinks they may be a victim of the gang to contact the Federal Office of Crime (01/24836 985025) with details. A witness protection programme is available. 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available