Italy breaks up Chinese crime ring involved in drugs, prostitution

Police officers inspect a truck's load during an operation aiming to break up a Chinese transport mafia, in Prato, Italy, Thursday. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Italy breaks up Chinese crime ring involved in drugs, prostitution

FLORENCE: Italy ordered the arrest of 33 people on Thursday on suspicion of running a Chinese mafia group involved in gambling, prostitution, and drugs and which dominated the transport of Chinese goods across Europe.
The group’s base was in Prato, near Florence, a hub for the textile industry where many factories are owned and run by Chinese, police said in a statement.
But the network had members in other parts of Italy and across Europe, with arrests sought in Rome, Milan, Padua, Paris, Madrid and Neuss, Germany, the statement said. Police did not say how many had been arrested so far.
They are accused of being members of a mafia organization and other crimes.
The suspected boss, Zhang Nai Zhong, was based in Rome. He used profit from illegal activities to build a massive transport company that dominated the trucking of goods for thousands of Chinese companies, police said.
Zhong had won a near-monopoly in distribution through threats and violence against Chinese company owners, anti-mafia prosecutors said. The investigation, called “China Truck,” began in 2011.
The operation broke up “a dangerous organization that had used force to take control of trucking, and was financed by its illegal activities,” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said in a statement.
Italy has a long history of home-grown organized crime, including the Sicilian Mafia and the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, but immigration to Europe has opened the way for foreign crime groups to take root, including the Nigerian and Chinese mafias.
“Being able to shed light on mafia character of this group is almost incredible,” Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy’s chief anti-mafia prosecutor, told a news conference. “It’s quite unusual to be able to identify a complex Chinese mafia organization.”
Investigators said Zhong emerged the winner of a conflict between rival Chinese gangs in which some 40 people were thought to have been murdered between 2005-2010. They estimated the group’s business activities were worth “hundreds of millions of euros.”
Apart from the arrests, prosecutors seized eight companies and an equal number of vehicles and “a few” millions of euros.


Shooting at London tube station leaves 3 people injured

Updated 1 min 7 sec ago
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Shooting at London tube station leaves 3 people injured

  • Police say the incident is not terror-related

LONDON: A shooting at London’s Kingsbury tube station has left three people injured, police said on Monday night, adding that the shooting is “not terror related.”

“Police and LAS (London Ambulance Service) were alerted at around 2145hrs on Monday, 20 August, to reports of shots fired in Kingsbury Road, NW9,” the Met police said in a statement.

The injured people are not believed to be in a life-threatening condition, the police said.

“A crime scene is in place and local roads are closed. There has been no arrest at this early stage,” the statement added.