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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Police Crackdown On Crime

Using special powers granted by President Boris Yeltsin's decree on crime, police carried out a massive operation against gangsters in Moscow, but were foiled when a radio bulletin carried news of the raids in advance, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday. Anya Boldareva of the special anti-terrorist squad said by phone that a radio station had broadcast a report Monday about the raids which were carried out Tuesday night. She said she did not know which radio station was responsible. "When our people went into the casinos and restaurants they found them virtually empty," Boldareva said. "I think someone deliberately leaked the plan to the radio station. Next time we will be more careful." She said police detained 2,251 people during the operation codenamed Uragan (Hurricane). But almost all were later released. She declined to give the exact number of those still being held. Police had seized two Makarov pistols and two Kalashnikov guns, she said. Boldareva said police checked 689 points in the city including 14 hotels, 196 commercial enterprises, 36 firms and banks, four markets and 27 parking lots. They ordered the closure of 193 commercial enterprises for financial violations and handed down fines totalling 101 million rubles (more than $51,000). She also said traffic police had identified 23 stolen cars from a check of 1,053. "During the operation police registered 292 crimes and are following up leads on 219 of them," Boldareva said. "But for such a well-planned operation, these figures are negligible." Boldareva said the Moscow Organized Crime Department and anti-terrorist units from the Dzerzhinsky division had taken part in the operation and that they had applied special powers granted by Yeltsin's decree. Yeltsin issued the decree June 14, granting police sweeping powers, including the right to detain suspects for up to 30 days and examine the financial affairs of anyone suspected of organized crime. The new measures also give police the right to search offices and homes without a court order. "Despite the poor results, we at least realized that criminals are afraid of us," she said. Boldareva said most of the establishments raided were centers of criminal activity by the Caucasian gangs in Moscow. According to police statistics more than 5,000 gangs are operating in Russia, 150 of them established over the past few years as major gangs with international connections. An administrator of the Belgrad hotel who declined to be named said several dozen policemen in fatigues and flakjackets, armed with Kalashnikovs, stormed the hotel Tuesday evening. "In most cases they checked the documents of people from the Caucasus," an administrator said. According to a new book called "Criminal Godfathers: Thrust to Power," examining KGB operations inside the criminal underground, there are 266 leading crime bosses in the CIS states, 50 of whom operate in Moscow.