For many years major Polish cities have had a major problem with numerous allegations being made about the conduct of some city centre strip clubs. Here at In Your Pocket we have received many emails from readers in which they claim that they have been overcharged, their cards have been scanned on multiple occasions or that they have been drugged and robbed. Despite many of these allegations being made official and the police being involved, it has never been proven that any of the clubs mentioned have done anything untoward. Yet the allegations have kept coming.
In what must be seen as a major change of approach by the authorities, the Obsession club in the heart of the Gdansk old town was raided at around 2am on the morning of Saturday July 1, 2017 in what appears to be an attempt to gather evidence and catch the perpetrators in the act, as it were.
The local news website, Trojmiasto.pl, reported that several policeman entered the club on Dlugi Targ and detained 22 people. The police appear to have been accompanied by forensic scientists who took samples of drinks and also it appears asked for urine samples from customers in the club as they sought proof that customers had unwittingly been given psychoactive drugs. These types of drugs affect the mental capacity and consciousness of the person that ingests them and can affect their behaviour and memory among other things.
Aleksandra Siewart from the City Police Command in Gdansk reported ‘This is the largest operation so far in Pomerania aimed at fraud in night clubs’.
The operaton began after 1am and involved nearly 80 people, including police officers, experts from the criminal laboratory of the local police department, officers from the tax authorities and chemical experts. Those detained were mainly the staff of the club including the club’s manager while blood and urine samples of customers were taken. Trojmiasto.pl reported that this was necessary as the traces of the drugs allegedly used can disappear from the body quickly and are undetectable within a few hours. Forensic experts also seized a number of substances found on the site. Trojmiasto reported that initial tests have revealed that psychoactive substances were discovered in the drinks tested.
The police response comes after many years of allegations made by customers of Obsession and other clubs, notably the now defunct Cocomo chain, that they had been robbed of anything from a few hundred up to several hundred thousand zloty.
The police investigation has progressed in recent months with dozens of investigations been taken over from various police forces by a new team of investigators. They have interviewed dozens of people, analysed hours of CCTV footage and compared the statements given by people who have reported crimes.
Trojmiasto reported the while Obsession has only operated since September 2015 it was previously the home of one of the Cocomo chain. Many allegations were made against Cocomo, including one in Poznan where the victim alleged to have been defrauded of a million zloty (around €235,000 Euros) but it was never proven that any of the clubs had committed a crime. The Cocomo chain suddenly announced that they were ending operations in September 2014 and shortly afterwards a network of clubs with different names opened up in many of the same locations with the clubs operated by a company called KR3 based in Hrubieszow.
It remains to be seen if any criminal charges will be brought following the July 1 raid, but previous experience suggests that this will not be the end of city centre strip clubs in Poland nor the end of allegations of fraud. Call us cynics, but expect to continue to be harassed by young women urging you to go to a strip club, whenever you take an evening walk through the centre of many Polish cities. We hope that we’re wrong and that the police finally find proof that the many, many accusations were not baseless.