“The majority of crimes committed by organised criminal gangs in Finland remain unsolved. According to the National Bureau of Investigation, crimes related to illegal debt collection and drugs, in particular, remain mysteries.
According to Detective Inspector Jussi Oksanen, when it comes to illegal debt collection this can partly be explained by the fact that most cases are linked to debts between criminals. However, law-abiding companies and motorcycle associations among others have also become targets of blackmailing.
Oksanen says that the police are aware of several cases where victims or others who are aware of a crime have been made too frightened to speak up.
The four most important criminal gangs in Finland have, in the recent times, expanded and are still trying to recruit new members. Antti Salminen, a former member of one of the most infamous motorcycle clubs in Finland, believes that the growth isn’t only caused by the gangs’ need to expand. Rather, it’s about the general state of society.
‘In Finland, it’s all still pretty tame compared to other countries, but it will change here, too, as Finland is becoming more like the US. Some are doing really well and others really badly.’
‘Yeah, I think that the problem will become worse in the future. Things will get rougher, but then, society’s gotten rougher, too,’ Salminen says.
‘It seems like there are lots of people nowadays with nothing to do. They take the bait. People are like rowing boats without oars. They just go with the flow. They find themselves a spiritual home of some kind in a gang. I suppose they’re interested in the brotherhood, the loyalty and the togetherness,’ he ponders.
According to Salminen, violent debt collection doesn’t usually affect people outside those circles.
‘Those guys won’t be banging on the door of some ordinary Joe Bloggs. There’s no point in overly dramatising the issue,’ Salminen says.”
TURUN SANOMAT 15 April
LEHTIKUVA - VESA MOILANEN