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Police target mob groups in 2002

The remanding in custody of Dalibor Listig is the latest in a series of high-profile police successes against organised crime groups.
Since the beginning of this year police have deployed hundreds of officers in sometimes country-wide operations to break up organised crime gangs.
In January police carried out nation-wide raids on extremist gangs' operations, following this up weeks later with action against a number of gangs involved in trafficking women.

The remanding in custody of Dalibor Listig is the latest in a series of high-profile police successes against organised crime groups.

Since the beginning of this year police have deployed hundreds of officers in sometimes country-wide operations to break up organised crime gangs.

In January police carried out nation-wide raids on extremist gangs' operations, following this up weeks later with action against a number of gangs involved in trafficking women.

An illegal alcohol ring in central Slovakia and a car theft network in northern Slovakia were smashed in February, while over the last two months suspected members of two organised crime gangs in Bratislava, one of which allegedly disposed of murder victims' bodies by dissolving them in acid, were arrested by police.

In late February police said they had arrested five east Slovakia underworld figures, while in mid-March 16 people were charged after an operation involving 230 officers broke up what they said was one of the most powerful organised crime gangs in Bratislava.

When coming to power in late 1998 the new government pledged to restore respect for the law among citizens and to tackle crime. The current police crack-down on organised crime has won the support of politicians across the political spectrum.

Speaking on a political discussion programme after the announcement of Listig's placement in custody, shadow foreign minister Rudolf Žiak of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) said: "Everything must be done to support the police in their activities against these groups."

Interior Minister Ivan Šimko has publicly praised the man widely seen to be leading the fight, Police Presidium Vice-President Jaroslav Spišiak, and the work of his officers.

After coming to his post last year Spišiak declared war on organised crime. He said after the arrest of five members of the Košice underworld earlier this year that the aim of the police is now to "destroy the seeds of criminality and not give the underworld a chance to grow".

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