17 people detained in operation against ‘carriage gang’ on Istanbul’s Büyükada
Dinçer Gökçe – ISTANBULPolice have detained 17 suspects and seized 19 carriages as part of an operation against a “carriage gang” on the largest of Istanbul’s Prince Islands on May 11.
The operation, the largest in the district’s history, was conducted by police in the touristic destination of Büyükada, which is known for its historic carriages.
The suspects were charged with usury, looting and uttering threats.
Almost 300 police officers took part in the operation codenamed “Trojan Horse,” simultaneously raiding 17 different addresses with the coordination of the police.
The suspects allegedly swindled coachmen by indebting them and holding their carriages. A number of offices had also been allegedly confiscated by gang members because their previous owners had been unable to pay rent.
The main suspect in the gang, known as the “Laçinliler,” was identified as Y.A., who was detained alongside his four sons.
Police identified 45 different real estate properties that were owned by the gang members, including mansions, hotels, offices and houses.
The suspects’ wives and girlfriends had titles to most of the properties.
Seventeen carriages that were registered to the detained suspects and their wives and sons were also seized on a prosecutor’s order.
According to officials, the carriages were reportedly worth between 200,000 and 300,000 Turkish Liras.
Officials also stated that each carriage brought in about 15,000 liras per month in revenue.
Police determined that suspects leased out carriages and horses and that they would confiscate property in the event that operators failed to pay back their debts.
Police also determined that suspects had acquired a monopoly over materials for horse breeding, including food and horseshoes.
The scope of the investigation was reportedly enlarged following testimony that was gathered from 15 suspects.
A recently released report from an animal rights group reported that the average life expectancy of a horse that is used to pull a carriage on the islands is reduced by as much as 90 percent.