How gangs are bypassing Newman Government’s anti-bikie laws
- The Courier-Mail
- June 21, 2014
Bikies are gathering most Friday nights in members’ homes – on private property – to circumvent strict laws banning them from clubhouses.
They travel to the meets alone or in pairs – on bikes or in cars – to avoid arrest and lengthy jail time under anti-association legislation.
The Courier-Mail was invited to a get-together of the Brisbane chapter of Australia’s most powerful outlaw motorcycle gang, the Rebels, where 15 members adorned in club colours met knowing that they were “untouchables”.
The bikies wanted to highlight how they were surviving the Newman Government’s legislation introduced nine months ago, and the subsequent police blowtorch.
Rebel Jamie Ruff said the meetings were like “acts of defiance” in the face of Government oppression.
“I don’t think they’ll ever stop us doing this,’’ Ruff said. “They can do whatever they want, but we’ll still find a way to get together and hang out.
“Basically the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been with these blokes. These guys are my family, that’s why I’m here.’’
State Government figures released in April showed that 40 per cent of Rebels members had a criminal record.
Before the VLAD laws were introduced last October, the Brisbane Rebels – like chapters throughout the country – met every Friday night at clubhouses to discuss gang business.
But 46 Queensland clubhouses were declared no-go zones because police said gangs were meeting to organise criminal activities – a claim rejected by Brisbane’s top Rebel.
Chapter president ‘Little Mick’ Kosenko, who hosted the meeting at his North Brisbane home, said the club was not involved in organised crime and any conviction against members would be minor.
“Most would be low-level offences, relating to minor drug charges and assault and would have been committed by individual members, not as part of any organised club activity,’’ Little Mick, a Rebel for 33 years, said.
“The club has rules where members are expelled for serious crimes and pulled into line if they seem to be straying from the straight and narrow. We have to meet somewhere. The only place we can do it safely without being arrested is someone’s backyard.”
Little Mick said Queensland outlaw gang members were being forced to toe the “legal fine line’’ between being arrested and being left alone by police.
“It’s just about keeping the club together. We are really under attack by the State Government,’’ he said.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s another thing we’ve got to bring up in the High Court challenge. It’s just another segment of these laws that we are fighting.”
Rebel of eight years, Steve “Sarge” McCrohon, said: “We are like a group of guys who meet at the local bowls club or football club on Friday night.
“But we wear black leather, we ride big motorbikes and we like the male camaraderie.
“It’s a mateship, it’s a brotherhood – we like to know how everyone is going.”