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Bikie gangs: Police
crackdown on outlaws costs gangs millions, drives many underground
January 18, 2016 12:00am
EXCLUSIVE Mark MorriCrime EditorThe Daily Telegraph
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Bikie gangs police smash Satudarah OMCG
OUTLAW bikie gangs across NSW are reeling from a police crackdown that has shut clubhouses and cut membership numbers, costing the gangs millions of dollars in a savage hit to their criminal activities.
The crackdown has driven many of the gangs underground and set them against each other in evermore desperate — and potentially violent — turf wars.
Last week, NSW police revealed they had moved to shut down one of Europe’s most violent outfits - the feared Satudara gang - from establishing a toehold in Australia.
At stake are tens of millions of dollars in drug trafficking, gun running, extortion, money laundering and other serious criminal activities.
Nomads members are arrested and charged with consorting / Picture: NSW Police
Aggressive tactics by Strike Force Raptor, a special police unit formed to target the gangs, has slashed membership by 15 per cent over the past two years and closed at least 38 illegal clubhouses.
And tough new laws that forbid more than two convicted criminals from consorting together at one time have destroyed the bikies’ traditional “brotherhood” structure.
But the culture of bikie gang anarchy still thrives across Sydney, and it won’t disappear any time soon.
“There is no suggestion the gangs are still not a major crime problem,” the head of the Gangs Squad Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace told The Daily Telegraph.
“But it is encouraging to see their numbers falling and a reduction in overt acts such as drive-by shootings and brawling in public places.
“We are receiving intelligence that numbers are declining and there’s been a reduction in visibility of the gangs over the past 12 to 24 months.”
Bikies have also been banned from owning tattoo parlours or selling alcohol in their clubhouses.
At least four bikie gangs — Notorious, Mobshitters, Rock Machine and Highway 61 — appear to have collapsed under the constant police pressure. (journalism at its best !)
The gangs have been badly hurt by the crackdown on traditional bikie runs and gatherings at clubhouses, which were used to recruit new members and discuss business.
By disrupting both the road runs and shutting down clubhouses, police have struck at the heart of many bikie operations, denying them the chance to congregate.
Those bikies who do still go on runs are junior members with no serious criminal records, because they are not subject to the non-consorting laws.
Police from NSW, Queensland and Australian Federal Police officers joined forces for a 10-day cross-border blitz on Tweed-Byron bikie gangs which ended on Thursday / Picture: NSW Police
Strike Force Raptor has gained a fearsome reputation for “getting in the faces’’ and harassing bikies since it was formed in 2009 after the wild brawl at Sydney airport between the Comanchero and Hells Angels resulted in the death of Anthony Zervos.
Since then police have launched an all-out offensive on all the gangs, backed by strong legislation from the NSW government which appears to be now reaping results. Police are using other government departments such as the Environment Protection Agency and even local councils to pursue the gangs over any infringement, no matter how small, to disrupt them.
The Gang Squad works closely with Borderforce looking into the immigration status of members and also has a taxation officer working out of the squad room.
“There is no doubt some of the better-known bikie gangs will be looking at ways to counter police tactics and we have to be ready for that,’’ Supt Wallace said.
“They have moved away from the traditional brotherhood concept of the original bikie gangs, which really were symbols of rebellion to now being organised crime gangs only interested in money.’’