Police secure the area outside the funeral of Rabih that took place in Berlin in September.
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Berlin crime gangs of Arab origin have long earned infamy with violence and brazen robberies but now, police warn, they have targeted a new generation of refugees for recruitment.While East European and Asian organized crime and homegrown biker gangs are also active, the clans have been especially visible, given many members' love of gangster bling and muscle cars.Now police warn that the clans have sought out new members from among the over 1 million asylum-seekers who have arrived in Germany since mid-2015, half of them from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.The clans' latest show of force was the Sept. 13 funeral of an infamous underworld figure, when 2,000 mourners congregated in the Islamic section of a Berlin cemetery, watched over by some 150 police.Rabih, a Palestinian born in Lebanon, had achieved cult status in the Berlin criminal underworld.In August, police and prosecutors seized 77 properties worth 10 million euros, alleged to have mostly been bought with proceeds from a major 2014 bank robbery.
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