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News 17 Nov 17

UK Fears Romanian’s Killing Could Spark Gang War

The brutal murder of a Romanian alleged gangster could be a sign that a ‘turf war’ between rival Balkan crime gangs in the UK capital is hotting up, media reports say.

 London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Italo-Europeo

Police in London have expressed concern that the recent murder of a Romanian who was an alleged gangster could spark a turf war between rival Balkan trafficking gangs, battling over the market in sex workers and drugs in the British capital.

Sorin Serbu, 36, was found dead in a pool of blood in the streets outside a Romanian club in Ilford, east London, at the weekend, having apparently been set on by a group of masked men wielding baseball bats.

Media reports, some quoting sources in the Romanian justice sector, said Serbu had a history of running drug and prostitution rackets in Italy before relocating to the UK, with some suggesting that he had “rocked the boat” in east London by attempting to import about 100 new prostitutes, thereby angering rival operators of the same trade, also from Romania.

A Romanian justice source was quoted in the UK Sun newspaper as saying: “Serbu tried to muscle in and imported around 100 prostitutes. The arrival of competition like that was always going to rock the boat.”

Ilford, a run down suburb in east London, was once home to working and lower middle class Britons, but in recent decades has hosted a largely immigrant population, originally consisting mainly of Asians and Africans but now increasingly dominated by Eastern Europeans.

With its shifting, transient population, it has also become a useful hiding base for gangs wishing to work in anonymous surroundings.

According to the UK Times newspaper, “The vice trade in Ilford and neighbouring Redbridge has long been dominated by Romanian and Albanian gangsters. The problem has become so serious that Romanian police have been brought in on secondment”.

The paper voiced policed concerns that the latest murder could prompt “a war to control a lucrative sex trafficking market”.

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