World News

German police raid suspected people smugglers linked to far-right

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BERLIN (Reuters) - About 800 police officers raided properties in northern Germany over Monday night and Tuesday morning and arrested three men suspected of belonging to a gang of human traffickers with links to a right-wing radical movement, police said.

The officers, including special forces, seized large amounts of cash, gold, fake documents and computers from flats and offices in Hamburg, Bremen and the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. They also discovered at least 35 foreigners residing in Germany illegally.

In a statement, police said they arrested two Germans and one Russian suspected of facilitating the unlawful entry of the mainly Moldovan citizens, as well as providing them with illegal employment in security and other sectors.

Police believe the suspected gang has links to the Reichsbuerger movement (Citzens of the Reich), a far-right group which rejects modern Germany as a legitimate state.

Members believe the former “Deutsches Reich” still exists despite Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War Two. The domestic intelligence service estimates the movement has several thousand members.

Reporting by Laura Dubois; Editing by Angus MacSwan