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Hundreds of Rebel bikies to descend on Tasmania for state's largest gang gathering

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Tasmania Police is preparing for what it says is the single largest gathering of bikies in the state's history.

About 50 officers from police services interstate, including officers from the National Anti-Gang Squad, will work with the state's force.

About 400 members of the Rebels will start arriving on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry in Devonport on Thursday morning, for a ride down the Midland Highway to Campbell Town, then across through Lake Leake to the east coast, before the ride finishes in Hobart on Friday.

Police said it was the Rebels' national run, and that they were expecting more than 250 extra bikes on the state's roads.

But the Rebels said it was nowhere near that large, and the bikies were here for a celebration at the North Hobart clubhouse on Friday night, to mark the 20th anniversary of the club coming to Tasmania.

Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame said the law enforcement community considered the Rebels to be an organised criminal gang, and he expected some of Australia's most powerful bikies to be on the ride.

He said the interstate police and Anti-Gang Squad officers would be in Tasmania to gather and share intelligence on gang members.

"These people are dealing with members of gangs from their jurisdictions, and it's advantageous to us to know who they are, what they're like, and provide some intelligence to our people in dealing with them," he said.

"There'll be representatives of all levels of the [Rebels'] organisation, but we're hopeful that they'll do the right thing, they'll come to Tasmania and they'll behave themselves.

"A number of the members of these gangs are criminals, and clearly we're concerned about that as well, but we've put appropriate actions in place to ensure that we're confident that the public will be safe and the public are our real concern."

 

Next month about 300 members of the rival outlaw motorcycle gang The Bandidos will arrive in the state.

Assistant Commissioner Frame denied the state was a soft target for criminal gangs.

"Certainly, The Bandidos are attempting to establish themselves in Tasmania," he said.

"Part of coming to Tasmania might be about recruiting and their profile, and we'll be working hard to make sure they don't establish themselves in a significant number in Tasmania.

"We'll hold them to account on behalf of the people of Tasmania, and hopefully they'll realise it's not worth their while to commit crime in Tasmania."

Founding member of Rebels Tasmania deported

The influx of Rebels comes as one of the founding members of the gang's Tasmanian chapter was deported to his country of birth, New Zealand, this week.

AJ Graham was one of the state's most notorious bikies, with an extensive criminal history.

It is the reason the Immigration Minister first cancelled his visa three years ago.

Graham had been detained in Goulburn Jail in New South Wales, and in the Villawood Detention Centre.

 

The 50-year-old took his fight to stay in Australia to the nation's highest court, with the High Court of Australia last month ruling his visa cancellation was invalid.

But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton cancelled Graham's visa for a third and final time, just hours after that decision was handed down.

On Tuesday, Graham was escorted onto a flight from Sydney, to Auckland in New Zealand.

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame said it had been a long time coming.

"He's someone that I know personally through work, and that he's going back to New Zealand is probably a good thing for the people of Tasmania," he said.

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