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At least seven Rebels from the gang’s Rockingham chapter are believed to have jumped ship in recent months — a move considered to be a serious breach of the bikie “code” that insiders believe will not go unpunished.
Adding to the insult likely to be felt by the Rebels is the fact that the gang’s Eastern States chapters have been at war with the Comancheros for more than two years.
The feud, sparked by the bashing of a Comancheros leader by Rebels members, has led to a spate of tit-for-tat attacks including fire bombings and shootings.
The reason for the defections by the WA Rebels is unclear, but the Comancheros have been on an aggressive recruitment drive for the past 12 months after several of its senior members were given lengthy jail terms for offences such as extortion and drug trafficking.
The Rebels, WA’s biggest gang with an estimated 150 members and nominees, have also expanded their numbers in recent weeks by “patching over” the Perth-based chapter of the Bandidos bikie gang.
The Bandidos are also bitter enemies of the Comancheros after the Milperra Massacre when seven people were killed in a shootout in a NSW pub carpark in 1984.
An innocent teenage girl was among those caught in the crossfire and the incident remains Australia’s deadliest example of gang-related violence.
The Bandidos patch-over by the Rebels adds about 10 extra members to the gang’s ranks and also reduces the number of gangs who now call Perth home from 11 to 10.
It is understood the Rebels reached an “amicable” agreement with the Bandidos’ Eastern States-based leaders to ensure a smooth transition of members across to the club.
The agreement was finalised two weeks ago when a group of about 15 senior Bandidos came to Perth to recover all gang equipment and insignia from members without incident.
While WA Police say they are “monitoring” the activities of all gangs for any signs that violence could be about to erupt here, history shows it could happen without warning if rival members accidentally crossed each other’s paths.
In 2010, the feud between the Coffin Cheaters and Finks over turncoat Troy Mercanti erupted into a bloody shootout at the Kwinana Motorplex after members unexpectedly turned up to the same event.
The clash left one Fink with a serious leg wound and saw another lose three of his fingers in a knife fight.