The Gothenburg Post has published an exposé of the extent to which criminal gangs — typically composed of third-world immigrants — have taken control of certain neighborhoods in Gothenburg, and now exert a covert form of political power in those regions. The report below is an introduction; the full exposé is behind a paywall.
Christofer Ahlqvist: Why we must consider gang leaders to be those in power
Murdered children, kidnappings, and witness testimonies that are withdrawn. The criminal gangs affect tens of thousands in Gothenburgers in the neighborhoods they hold hostage. Today the Gothenburg Post examines the gangs, and here Editor-in-Chief Christofer Ahlqvist explains why the identified gang leaders should be viewed as being in power.
“You’re not getting in here!” The message to our team was clear. The threatening people did not want us to carry out our journalistic assignment in the neighborhood. The incident occurred when we were going to report on the unrest that broke out in connection with the fatal shooting in Hjällbo last year. We were forced to do our live broadcast from a different location from what we had planned. The next day we were back in the neighborhood again and did our report. That day the Gothenburg Post was directly affected by the actions of the gang and network. But there are others who are affected daily.
Criminal gangs are terrorizing the neighborhoods where they operate, and according to the police affect tens of thousands of Gothenburgers just in our suburbs alone. In the last few days, we have been able to report on murdered children, kidnapped teachers, and witness testimonies being withdrawn.
The foremost mission of the media is to examine power. Those who run the criminal groups undoubtedly have both great influence and power. That is accompanied by significant public interest, which motivates us to report to our readers as much as we know about the gangs and their leaders. Thus, in today’s examination we are publishing names and photos of convicted criminals who are identified by authorities as gang leaders.
The power that a gang leader possesses is not official, compared to, for example, a politician or a business leader. These individuals often deny that they have such a role or a position of power. That makes our job harder, but also more important. Behind today’s publication lie months of intensive work, which is based on several years of accumulated knowledge and experience. Our reporters have gathered and put together official documents such as investigations and court judgments. They have interviewed sources, both public officials and people who speak confidentially. Due to a lack of answers from the identified individuals, we have utilized their answers from trials and hearings in order to present their version, in spite of everything. We have also interviewed those who are truly affected by the gangs in our local community. All in all, we can show the influence and power the gangs and their leaders have, whether they admit it or not.
In Sweden, the number of shootings has increased this year compared to the previous five years. At the same time, the situation in Western Sweden looks somewhat brighter. A partial explanation might be that so many gang criminals in leading positions are behind bars. But according to Mats Bergström, Acting Deputy Regional Chief for Region West, that could quickly change.
“Even if the numbers go in the right direction, something serious can happen that upsets it. The situation is so serious. We have heavy conflicts in our region, but we are keeping tabs on it, and we have found methods that are working.”
The Gothenburg Post will continue to watch and scrutinize what the authorities and politicians are doing to overcome the problem. But we will also examine the unofficial people in power who are causing so much pain to so many citizens.