Hundreds of Rebel bikies to descend on
Tasmania for state's largest gang gathering
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
"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
Next month about 300 members of
the rival outlaw motorcycle gang The Bandidos will arrive in the
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
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
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.