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12 Feb, 2008 02:57

Moscow police bust alleged racist gang

Two teenagers, detained in Moscow, are accused of taking part in more than 30 racist murders. Police say the pair were part of a skinhead gang that picked their victims based on ethnic background.

“They kept in touch via mobile phones and the Internet. Then they'd get together for what they called 'actions'. Their attacks were always sudden and had one purpose only – to kill,” Aleksandr Klimov, Special Crime Investigator, said.

The story began to unfold when two Moscow students, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, were arrested last April on suspicion of killing an Armenian businessman. Ryno has since confessed to 37 racially motivated crimes.

Last month, four more youngsters suspected to be a part of the gang were detained.

A total of nine alleged gang members are now charged with murder or attempted murder.

Investigators say the group's rule was: no women, no children – they only attacked men. Something they called cleaning up the city.

Studies by SOVA Research Centre show last year 69 people were killed in race hate attacks across Russia. Since the beginning of this year, the number is 14.