Police keep an eye on Bandidos
Invercargill could be on the radar for the notorious Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang after police had a run-in with several people wearing Bandidos gear.
A source told The Southland Times a group of people wearing Bandidos T-shirts was removed from the Barluca nightclub in the city just before Christmas.
Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd confirmed on Friday that several "local gang members" wearing Bandidos supporters gear were spoken to.
Mr Todd said he was working the beat the weekend before Christmas when police dealt with the group.
"Some people were spoken to but they were not Bandidos T-shirts per se. They were supporters T-shirts," he said.
They were local gang members but none of the group were wearing patched gear.
The incident did not confirm they were Bandidos members, he said.
Invercargill police and the Southern district police organised crime squad were continuing to monitor gang activity, Mr Todd said.
Southern district police organised crime squad head Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said the establishment of a South Island Bandidos chapter in Christchurch could be behind the sightings. "Gangs, especially those looking to establish themselves, always look to recruit new members."
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club - described as one of the "big three" outlaw motorcycle clubs along with the Hells Angels and Outlaws - had a reputation in Australia for being involved in organised crime and drug dealing, he said.
Gangs could move to any place where they had an opportunity to sell drugs.
Southern police were aware of the formation of the Christchurch chapter in November and were monitoring the gang's movements, Mr Inglis said.
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club Worldwide website has messages of congratulations to the Christchurch probationary chapter.
The Bandidos Auckland Chapter posted the following on December 2: "Kia Ora brothers, Congrats to Bandidos MC Christchurch our NEW Probationary Chapter here in New Zealand . . . ".
Mr Inglis said the establishment of the Christchurch chapter was a significant step, with the gang looking to establish a presence in New Zealand.
But police would continue to actively target any illegal activity, he said.
In 2012, it was reported the Bandidos were setting up a chapter in South Auckland.
The Bandidos are one of several international motorcycle gangs to try to set themselves up in New Zealand.
In 2011 it was announced Australian motorcycle club the Rebels had moved into New Zealand.
Southern police said Rebel members were in Invercargill during the Burt Munro Challenge in November.