Austrian police say arrest neo-Nazi gang members

VIENNA Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:49am EST

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian police have arrested 10 suspected members of a neo-Nazi crime gang accused of arson attacks, weapons and drugs dealing, illegal prostitution, assault and other crimes.

Police said on Thursday the gang maintained a reign of terror for years over red light districts in Upper Austria, costing businesses at least 3.5 million euros ($4.6 million).

Some leaders of the gang, which called itself "Objekt 21", were known to police as neo-Nazis, a police spokeswoman told Reuters.

Nazi symbols were found at the group's headquarters in the Voecklabruck district, the Austria Press Agency reported.

Austria, which was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938, has banned neo-Nazi organizations in its constitution.

Police said the gang's suspected crimes included the kidnapping and abuse of a brothel manager and an arson attack on a sauna club in Vienna that caused 2.5 million euros' worth of damage.

They said they had questioned more than 80 people in connection with their investigations, which were continuing.

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(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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