Police say criminal gang behind fatal attack on police officer as 60 arrests are made

Police say criminal gang behind fatal attack on police officer as 60 arrests are made

Members of a criminal gang comprising almost 160 football hooligans were involved in the fatal injury of police officer Giorgos Lyngeridis during fan riots in Athens in December, the country’s police chief has said.

Presenting the latest information on the police raids on the homes of dozens of suspected hooligans that took place earlier on Monday, Lieutenant General Dimitrios Mallios said that 60 people were arrested in the operation.

The raids included searches in 58 homes and 15 in vehicles, which yielded pistols, wooden bats, knives, drugs, clothing, digital media and other evidence.

The arrests follow a four-month investigation by a unit tasked with combatting football hooliganism, which was “conducted … under the utmost secrecy,” according to Mallios.

Most than 400 people have already been detained as part of the investigation, while one person has appeared before the courts in relation to the police officer’s death, he said.

However, the case file on the incident now “includes testimonies, videos and other findings that demonstrate that a criminal organization was behind the attack, while confirming the association of sports violence with organized crime,” he added.

The 158-member gang has been involved in crimes and misdemeanors in Attica, Volos and Ioannina since at least 2019, Mallios said.

On December 7, 2023, 31-year-old officer Giorgos Lyngeridis was severely injured by a flare in clashes between riot police and a group of volleyball fans during a match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos teams in Rentis, near Piraeus. He later died from his injuries.

Hundreds of people were initially detained over the incident and one man has been jailed pending trial on manslaughter charges over the killing.

Media reports said that all of those arrested on Monday were Olympiakos supporters. 

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