In Berlin, a dozen or more Lebanese clans dominate organized crime in the German capital, according to Die Welt. They effectively control the districts of Charlottenburg, Kreuzberg, Moabit, Neukölln and Wedding. The clans are committed to counterfeiting, dealing in drugs, robbing banks and burglarizing department stores. Experts estimate that around 9,000 people in Berlin are members of clans.
The clans have also entered the refugee business by buying real estate and renting those properties to asylum seekers at exorbitant prices. Focus magazine reported that they are laundering dirty money while at the same time getting paid by the German state to house migrants.
Focus reporters visited a dilapidated apartment in Berlin in which five Syrian refugees were accommodated in 20 square meters (215 square feet). On the regular rental market the apartment would barely have yielded €300 ($335) a month in rent, but the clan collects around €3,700 ($4,125) per month from the German state, which pays landlords to house migrants. "Business with the refugees is now more profitable than drug trafficking," said Heinz Buschkowsky, a former mayor of Neukölln.
The report also described the situation in Duisburg's Laar district, where two large Lebanese families call the shots: "The streets are actually regarded as a separate territory. Outsiders are physically assaulted, robbed and harassed. Experience shows that the Lebanese clans can mobilize several hundred people in a very short period of time by means of a telephone call."
In nearby Gelsenkirchen, Kurdish and Lebanese clans are vying for control of city streets, some of which have become zones that are off-limits to German authorities. In one incident, police were patrolling an area in the southern part of the city when they were suddenly surrounded and physically assaulted by more than 60 members of a clan.
In another incident, two police officers stopped a driver after he ran a red light. The driver stepped out of the car and ran away. When police caught up with him, they were confronted by more than 50 clan members. A 15-year-old attacked a policeman from behind and strangled him to the point of unconsciousness.
Senior members of the Gelsenkirchen police department subsequently held a secret meeting with representatives of three Arab clans in order to "cultivate social peace between Germans and Lebanese." A leaked police report revealed that the clans told Police Chief Ralf Feldmann that "the police cannot win a war with the Lebanese because we outnumber them." The clan members added: "This applies to all of Gelsenkirchen, if we so choose."
In Naumburg, police confiscated the driver's license of Ahmed A., a 21-year-old member of a Syrian clan, during a traffic stop. Almost immediately, police were surrounded by a mob of other clan members. The police retreated. The mob then marched to the police station, which they proceeded to ransack.
Ahmed A., a serial offender whose asylum application was rejected but who remains in Germany, said: "Lock me up. I have nothing to lose. I am going to put a bullet in the head of every single police officer. I will make your life feel like hell. Then I'll just be a cop killer." He also warned the police officer who seized his license: "I will destroy his life. I know exactly where he lives." He then explained what he would do to the officer's wife and daughter. Ahmed A. was allowed to walk free; police said there were insufficient grounds for his arrest.
In Mülheim, around 80 members of two rival clans got into a mass brawl following a dispute between two teenagers. When police arrived, they were attacked with bottles and stones. More than 100 police backed up by helicopters were deployed to restore order. Five people were taken into custody but then released.
In Bremen, police effectively surrendered to clans from Kurdistan and the Balkans because of the need to conserve limited personnel resources for the fight against spiraling street crime by migrant youths.