Gang 'admits' daring Berlin poker tournament robbery

Image caption,
There was panic at the Grand Hyatt Hotel when the gang burst in

Three men have admitted carrying out an audacious daylight raid on a poker tournament in Germany, media reports say.

The young men reportedly made the admission as their trial on charges of robbery and bodily harm opened.

They were part of a heavily armed gang which stormed into the tournament at a hotel in Berlin on 6 March.

The robbers made off with the tournament jackpot of 242,000 euros ($327,000; £217,000).

The men are reported to be aged between 19 and 21.

Petra Carl, spokeswoman at the state court in Berlin where the trial opened on Monday, said that, if convicted, a 21-year-old being tried as an adult could face up to 15 years in prison.

Sentences for 20-year-olds would depend whether the judge decided to try them as juveniles or adults, she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The defendants gave no details about the location of the money, reports say. All but 4,000 euros is still missing.

The gang, believed to have been four-strong and reportedly carrying handguns, burst into Berlin's Hyatt Hotel in the city's Potsdamer Platz.

To the shock of the poker players taking part in the tournament, they made off with the jackpot in bags of cash, whose initial sum was reported to be far higher.

Two weeks later, German police arrested a man they suspected of being the mastermind behind the raid.

Two other suspects had already been detained and a third was seized at Berlin's Tegel airport, AP reported.

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