The great bikie club schism that sparked the battle for Canberra's south side
Megan Gorrey and Michael Inman
It began with a fight at a Rebels clubhouse.
And the use of an AK-47-like firearm in a recent attack has authorities concerned about the level of violence and where it will all end.
For decades the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Club had laid claim to the ACT and surrounds.
At its peak, it is estimated the club had up to six chapters and more than 60 members.
But the start of the great schism, which transformed Canberra's long-held status as a one-club town to a battlefield between feuding bikie gangs, can be traced back to the fight that night.
Underworld folklore has it that a nominee was thrown out of the club as a result.
In response, he and a group of other Rebels affiliates formed a Comanchero chapter in the territory.
There had been members of other outlaw motorcycle gangs in Canberra for years, but never a blatant incursion by a rival group setting up a chapter in the traditional Rebels stronghold.
Tensions sparked by members patching over - or switching gangs - flared between the two clubs with a flurry of brazen shootings, with shots fired at homes in Kambah, Stirling and Florey in March 2015.
Comancheros Daniel Grech, 27, and Lihai Vimahi, 24, were jailed last month after a man with links to the Rebels was shot as he smoked on his porch in the Stirling incident.
The Rebels - once Australia's largest outlaw motorcycle gang - have been crippled by internal power struggles after long-reigning national president Alex Vella's visa was cancelled while holidaying in Malta in 2014.
In the ACT, their power was sapped even further when a group of senior southside Rebels defected to establish a Nomads ACT chapter and conflict erupted again in early 2016.
A Tuggeranong tattoo parlour owned by former southside Rebels stalwart Wayne Gordon Clark - the father of one of the defecting bikies - was allegedly targeted in May that year.
Late last year, about 20 Rebels - including a number of senior office bearers - handed in their colours, only months after the Nomads' defection.
The turmoil and resignations mean the number of patched bikies calling the capital home has dropped, with estimates placing the figure between 20 to 50.
In the months that followed, ACT Policing's anti-bikie Taskforce Nemesis probed a shooting and car fire at an Isabella Plains house, a fire at the Comanchero former clubhouse in Fyshwick and a second tattoo parlour arson attack.
But the most recent incidents - three shootings in less than a fortnight linked to rivalry between the Nomads and Comanchero - have marked an escalation in the battle for supremacy in the south.
They have also raised fears about the increasingly dangerous weapons used by perpetrators and driven public conversation about what measures would be needed to curb the violence.
In one incident, an AK-47 assault rifle was used to pepper the Waramanga house and car of a Comanchero with 27 bullets, days after a Kambah home linked to a Nomads member was targeted.
The attacks prompted Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders to admit she had been "alarmed" by rising gun crime and feared it was only a matter of time before someone was injured or killed.
Bond University criminologist Terry Goldsworthy said the use of an AK-47-like firearm would seem to mark an escalation of violence between the gangs.
"Once you start to get machine guns to shoot at each other, that elevates to another level the concerns people should have and the concerns law enforcement should have.
"It's quite significant having access to that kind of weaponry."
The shootings again revived debate over controversial anti-consorting laws, which had been staunchly opposed by defence lawyers and civil libertarians before they were shelved by the ACT government last year.
Assistant Commissioner Saunders said while tougher laws alone were not the answer, she would monitor bikie activity and raise the legislation with government again if she felt it was necessary.
She said she'd directed officers to take "all action possible" to prevent and disrupt bikie gang activity, while flagging a potential push for tighter gun laws and bolstered powers to help police secure crime scene evidence.
Dr Goldsworthy was surprised there hadn't been any "overt action" from police this week to halt the bikie violence and said consequences for perpetrators needed to be met with agile and timely responses.
"There's no point planning a raid four weeks after a house has been shot up. It just has no meaning."
He said intensified violence would boost public pressure from the community and politicians to force action from authorities to make it harder and more awkward for bikie gang members to operate.
Assistant Commissioner Saunders said there was no simple solution to halting criminal activity linked to bikie gangs but said a national, multi-pronged approach was necessary.
"We'll never eliminate crime; police are never going to go out of business unfortunately.
"I think the focus needs to be on the people, rather than the criminal activity, because they will diversify."
She has also expressed concerns over known links between outlaw motorcycle groups in Canberra and serious organised crime overseas, particularly south-east Asia.
"People think we're targeting bikies - they wear their colours around, they're intimidating - it's not about bikies. I don't give a damn about any of that.
"This is just about the criminal activity they're engaged with and the violent behaviour we've been seeing, that's what's concerning to me."