Germany raids, bans Hells Angels rival United Tribuns

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany banned United Tribuns, a rival to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, on Wednesday, saying the group posed a serious public threat and was responsible for a raft of violent crimes.

Police searched 108 properties in nine states in tandem with the announcement of the ban, confiscating weapons including baseball bats, machetes and brass knuckles as well as a 3-D printer that was believed to have been used to produce the knuckles.

The interior ministry said the ban affected about 100 members of the group in Germany. The group as well as its 13 chapters will be dissolved and their assets seized. Symbols of the group may no longer be disseminated nor used in public.

"Members of the 'United Tribuns' group have committed the most serious crimes: sexual offences, human trafficking offences and attempted homicides," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

"That's why I have banned the 'United Tribuns' group today."

The ministry said the group had engaged in violent confrontations with rivals, such as the Hells Angels, and encouraged and rewarded members for committing crimes.

Formed in 2004 by a former Bosnian boxer, United Tribuns says it is interested in martial arts and fitness, but the interior ministry said the group strives for power on the gang scene.

(Writing by Paul Carrel and Miranda Murray; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jonathan Oatis)