Black Cobra gang quitting Sweden: report
Published: 21 May 2012 12:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 May 2012 12:57 GMT+02:00
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Other Black Cobra chapters in Stockholm, Uppsala, and Eskilstuna in central Sweden will likely remain operational for a time.
The move comes following efforts by police to step up their offensive against organized criminal gangs in Sweden.
Many of the Black Cobras' top leaders in Sweden are now behind bars, according to Sydsvenskan
According to Sydsvenskan the Black Cobras, a Denmark-based gang which established itself in Sweden in 2005, currently has about 200 active members.
But sources tell the paper that the members responsible for establishing the gang in Sweden have since developed "other interests" such as having children and creating families.
The fact that the gang is abandoning its trademark snake-emblazoned logo is viewed as a success story for police, according to Linda Haddemo, a spokesperson for the Malmö police's anti-gang unit.
She emphasized, however, that the police would continue to keep up the pressure on Sweden's organized criminal gangs, regardless of what logo the members are wearing.
"You have to understand that these individuals don't just disappear. They are still out there and are probably going to continue to be involved in criminal activities," she told the TT news agency.
Lars Öjelind with Sweden's National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen) estimates that about 700 people in Sweden have some sort of gang affiliation.
"Some are only in the early phases of their criminal careers while others are seasoned criminals," he said.
"The shirt they are wearing doesn't matter to us in our work. For us, it's always about the individuals."
One positive outcome from the Black Cobras' decision to quit the Sweden gang scene is a possible reduction in recruitment of new members.
"Now is the time to push those who have no affiliation to move in the right direction," he said.