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Monday, 30 April 2012

new breed of bikie as brutal gang war ignites over borders


08:07 |

The bikie old guard is being pushed aside by a violent new breed of steroid-pumped, amphetamine-taking young rebels who are flexing their muscle in many of Queensland's 14 outlaw motorcycle gangs, crime experts say. Increasingly, the modern bikie is likely to be in his 20s or 30s and of Middle Eastern or Eastern European descent. Some, like members of Sydney's Lebanese-dominated Notorious gang who are starting to infiltrate the Sunshine State, do not even ride motorbikes. This comes as a bloody battle between the Hells Angels and Bandidos is threatening to erupt into a national war – with bikies from interstate on standby to back up their Gold Coast members. The gangs - already at war in Sydney - are brawling over the Gold Coast's lucrative drug trade. Hells Angels numbers have swollen since 2010, to the detriment of the Bandidos. The Sydney members, which include a large proportion of Middle Eastern and Pacific Island bikies, have been flying north to the Gold Coast and operating as "nomads" without reporting to the Queensland chapter. After a major crackdown on the gangs and guns behind Sydney's violent shooting epidemic resulted in 555 people being arrested and 908 charges laid. Weekend's shooting The double shooting of a bikie and an innocent bystander at a Gold Coast shopping centre on Saturday has reignited debate about whether measures to deal with gang violence and organised crime are working. The offender, believed to be a member of a rival bikie club, remains on the run. New breed of bikie Gone are the old-school leathers and long, straggly hair - today's bikies are more likely to sport designer clothes and haircuts, trendy sunglasses and gangster bling. Assistant police commissioner for the southeast region, Graham Rynders, said the bikie demographic was changing. "The traditional long beard, long hair is going," he told a media conference yesterday. "We're seeing more like a younger set - well-groomed, well-presented (and) trying to portray themselves as professional people." Police say the heavily tattooed man who opened fire in the Robina Town Centre on Saturday, wounding a female shopper and a senior Bandido, fitted the mould of the new breed of bikie - young, well-built, brazen and possibly Middle Eastern. "The major problem with this new breed of bikie is that they simply don't care," a source told The Courier-Mail. "Many combine steroid and amphetamine use and it makes them feel 10-foot tall and bullet-proof. Many of them think nothing of pulling a gun in public, but to actually discharge it in a crowded shopping centre is an extraordinary and frightening new escalation of bikie violence." The source said many older bikies who joined gangs mainly for brotherhood and a mutual love of motorbikes and partying were being replaced by younger members who used clubs as much for business as pleasure. "That business revolves around the drug trade, extortion and standover," he said. "Over the last 10 years, the bikie gangs have seen an influx of young men from the Middle East and the Balkans. They are very tribal and many of them are extremely dangerous." Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, responsible for State Crime Operations Command which includes anti-bikie squad Taskforce Hydra, said his officers were "constantly monitoring" the influx of new bikies and gaining intelligence from interstate colleagues. He said Queensland's "top three or four high-risk" bikie gangs were all involved in criminal activity "at some level, sanctioned by the club". Jacques Teamo, the Bandido shot at Robina on Saturday in front of his two children, is refusing to co-operate with police and Mr Condon admitted the bikie "code of silence" was frustrating investigations into gang activity. Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said yesterday the woman caught in the shooting was likely to be in hospital for some time. Mr Atkinson released five images of the muscular, tattooed offender in hope of identifying him. A succession of Gold Coast bikies, many of them Finks, have been jailed for contempt in recent years for refusing to answer questions about criminal activity in secret Australian Crime Commission hearings. Some refuse to even confirm they are bikies, despite sporting prominent club tattoos. But Mr Condon said Taskforce Hydra had arrested more than 1000 bikie gang members and associates on 2800 charges - including attempted murder, extortion and firearm and drug offences - since 2007. "Those persons have been sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment," he said. Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said it was "more likely than not" that several rival gangs were involved in the latest wave of violence. Despite fears of a bloody and now dangerously public bikie war, Mr Condon said there had been violent confrontations between rival gangs for decades, including a pitched battled between Finks and Hells Angels at the Royal Pines Resort in March 2006. Another incident In another worrying sign for the depleted Bandidos, a junior and senior gang member argued at a Gold Coast shopping centre on Friday with angry words exchanged after the junior member threw a rolled-up paper napkin at the senior Bandido. The older bikie is said to have taken offence and threatened revenge against the junior member, with the seemingly innocuous incident now set to lift tensions within the outlaw motorcycle outfit. Hells Angels bikie associates who have moved to the Gold Coast for "a better lifestyle" for their families are trying to take advantage of fractures inside the Bandidos. Police said there had been signs an all-out bikie war was brewing. The rise in gun crime and growing bikie gang activity south of the border has brought simmering tensions to the fore on the Surfers Paradise strip.


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