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Comanchero, Rebels club rooms closed as anti-bikie laws come into effect in SA

Updated Thu at 4:15pm

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 premises.

The list of declared organisations:

  • Bandidos
  • Comanchero
  • Descendants
  • Finks
  • Gypsy Joker
  • Hells Angles
  • Mongols
  • Nomads
  • Rebels
  • 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 legislation.

"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 succeed".

"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 legislative power."

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."


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