Comanchero, Rebels club rooms closed as anti-bikie laws come into
effect in SA
South Australia's new anti-bikie legislation has
already forced the closure of two motorcycle gang club rooms, according to
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens.
State Parliament passed the legislation last week and it came
into effect today.
The laws declared 10 gangs as criminal organisations, meaning
it is an offence for members to meet or wear club colours in public.
Mr Stevens said the organised crime gangs task force had been
speaking to outlaw groups in the lead-up to enforcement of the new laws.
"Two of the club rooms that were proscribed have already been
vacated and the other eight which are subject to the legislation are in varying
stages of being vacated or being shut down," he said.
"It's the decision of the clubs themselves to abandon the
The list of declared organisations:
- Gypsy Joker
- Hells Angles
- Red Devils
"The two that have shut down are the Comanchero and the
Rebels. One's at Salisbury and one's at Edinburgh."
The Commissioner said he expected clubs would set up
elsewhere, but if that happened he planned to have those premises added to the
"We'll continue to do what we normally do in terms of
monitoring criminal behaviour and we'll be identifying those premises and then
we'll go back with a submission that further premises are subject to the
regulation," he said.
The State Government passed similar laws in 2008 but they were
struck down in a High Court challenge.
Attorney-General John Rau said he would not be surprised if
other challenges were attempted, but added they would be "very unlikely to
"This legislation does represent a significant threat to the
behaviour and lifestyle of these affected people," he said.
"Unlike the previous methods, we have considered and in fact
legislated for the declaration of these groups.
"The method we have used here is one that has received
acknowledgment from the High Court that it is a legitimate exercise of
The crime gangs task force will enforce the laws under the
banner of Operation Vanguard.
Lawyer says challenges likely to be mounted
Defence lawyer Craig Caldicott
has previously been critical of the laws and
said he has "been talking with and taking instruction from various people who
may be affected" by them.
"It's likely that there's going to be challenges mounted.
Certainly we've been instructed to look at any charges that are laid with a view
to taking it to the Supreme Court and the High Court," he said.
"They can't go to a funeral. If a friend of theirs passes away
and two or more go to the funeral, they will be charged with an offence."
The commissioner said the laws would also spell the end of
bikie runs and rallies.
"That's not to say we won't see large groups of motorcycle
riders participating in a combined activity, but the law prevents two or more
members of a declared organisation from knowingly associating," he said.
"We are removing from them the ability to coerce and
intimidate people to further their criminal activities."