BIKIES could be charged simply for
texting each other under tough new consorting laws, which the state’s
new gangs boss says will stop their expansion.
The Queensland Police Service has issued
500 consorting warnings, about 400 of which are pre-emptive.
Gang members do not need to meet to break
the new consorting laws.
They could be charged for talking on the
phone or emailing or messaging each other.
The move comes as gangs Rock Machine,
Mongrel Mob and Satudarah try to get a foothold in the southeast.
Feeder groups such as the 36ers and
Villains are also trying to recruit after tough laws pushed bikies
The Bandidos and Rebels remain the two
largest gangs in Queensland.
Organised Crime Gangs Group Commander Detective
Superintendent Roger Lowe said the preventive strategy used by police was having
“Where we identify a potential criminal
network where persons are identified as recognised offenders under the
legislation we will act and we will give them official pre-emptive consorting
warning notices,” he said.
Under the new laws, a person can be charged if
they consort with two or more convicted offenders on two or more occasions after
one warning. However, no consorting charges have so far been laid against bikies.
“Our investigations and
our intelligence suggest we’re having an effect,” Supt Lowe said. “Where we’ve
seen groups or criminal networks that would regularly meet, we are seeing that
not being the case now.”
Supt Lowe said feeder
clubs had their own naming convention and were affiliated with outlaw motorcycle
gangs without wearing their patches or colours.
Young men were being “groomed” to join the
outlaw gangs and were usually recruited from drug-trafficking networks or
involved in armed robberies or petty offences.
“We are seeing a lot of recruiting coming
through from younger people who have this television-influenced gangster
mentality,” Supt Lowe said.
Despite a change in laws, including the
banning of colours, which had pushed bikies underground, drug and firearms
trafficking, violence and extortion were still the types of offences committed
by the gangs, Supt Lowe said.
The biggest challenge for police was ice and
cocaine being imported into Queensland.
Different laws across Australia for bikies
meant Queensland police were sworn in as officers in different states to conduct
surveillance and help police events where bikies rode in colours.
Officers were in Tasmania during national
Bandidos and Rebels runs last year, and said they identified new gang members
There are about 720 outlaw motorcycle gang
members in Queensland, which has remained static, and about 185 people who have
disassociated since a crackdown on bikies.
There are 126 full-time staff in the new gangs
squad, which absorbed bikie-busting group Taskforce Maxima.
The group includes the protracted unit, major
and organised crime squads, Maxima (tactical), criminal economy unit and
National Anti-Gangs Squad, which involves the Australian Taxation Office,
Australian Federal Police and QPS working together.
Supt Lowe said OMCG were “without a doubt” the
most obvious, prolific and violent criminals, however, his group also targeted
Middle Eastern crime.
Police spent a great deal of their work
monitoring who was joining or being targeted by gangs for recruitment.
“Certainly similar to NSW and Victoria we are
seeing the emergence of other types of gangs and groups establishing, such as
(Netherlands-based) Satudarah, the Villains, the 36ers, these fringe groups that
develop that become feeder groups,” Supt Lowe said.
The Rock Machine established in Queensland
about a year ago and was of Canadian origin, Supt Lowe said.
Supt Lowe said gangs did not necessarily ride
bikes or use clubhouses.
“You can’t ride in your colours, you can’t
wear colours, you can’t wear clothing, you can’t wear insignia, you can’t have a
clubhouse and you certainly can’t ride in any sort of formation because you’d be
likely to be committing a habitual consorting offence,” he said.
originated in Canada and already established in Western Australia, Adelaide and
Sydney. Fluctuating numbers in Queensland.
in Netherlands, violent gang linked to drug and weapons trafficking. “Satu darah”
translates to “one blood” in Indonesian.
in New Zealand, linked to drug trafficking and violence. Rival of New Zealand
gang Black Power, which previously emerged in Queensland.