Licensing changes alongside tough new laws to stop gangs using businesses as a cover for criminal activity
- The Courier-Mail
- March 03, 2014
Retired Brigadier Bill Mellor, the chief of the anti-bikie Strategic Monitoring Team, said implementing the licensing changes alongside tough new criminal laws would help stop gangs using legitimate businesses to launder money and aid their illicit rackets.
The state’s unions are awaiting legal advice before launching a High Court challenge to the licensing changes.
The changes, which come into effect in July, mean bikie gang members or associates will be banned from holding licenses or certificates to work in industries from electrical, plumbing and construction industries to towing, security, tattooing, liquor and racing industries.
Brig Mellor, however, said the changes would give bikies a choice: be part of a gang or quit and earn an honest living.
“It’s a dual-track approach,” Brig Mellor said, focusing on both criminal and administrative strategies as used by the Dutch in Amsterdam.
“In a number of jurisdictions they have concentrated simply on the criminal law and so there’s been a police crackdown.
“They go around and arrest a lot of people, put them up in court but then when the crackdown wanes, as it inevitably does, the environment hasn’t changed and so the bikies just come back and do what they’ve always been doing.
“This . . . will give people a choice. They can either be a member of a criminal motorcycle gang or they can have legitimate employment. They can’t do both.”
Brig Mellor said work was also under way to weed out bikies from the public service and to stop bikie-related businesses winning government contracts.
The Government is trying to tighten regimes that have allowed in the past patched motorcycle gang members to win licenses and government contracts, some while under investigation for offences including drug trafficking, weapons and grievous bodily harm.
Hells Angels members were given a security firm licence for their Brisbane locksmith business while under investigation over an alleged multi-million-dollar ice trafficking ring.
Former Finks “Terror Team” member Yassar Bakir won contracts for his security firm with the army while he was organising drug shipments from China.