Bikies target ordinary Queenslanders because of the car they drive or belief they had disposable income
- The Courier-Mail
- March 24, 2014
The Brisbane man is among scores of ordinary Queenslanders – at the wrong place at the wrong time – who paid out thousands of dollars to former Bandidos in the past year to stare off serious beatings.
State and federal police yesterday launched simultaneous raids throughout Brisbane, swooping on 12 senior members and associates, charging them with 37 counts of extortion under Operation Lima Corona.
Police are expected soon to make an extradition request to southeast Asia to charge a senior member of the gang who fled after the Newman Government introduced its tough anti-bikie laws last year.
It is believed the husband targeted for his attractive wife is among several people yet to make a formal complaint. Bikies used fists, guns and even baseball bats while carrying out threats.
Deputy Police Commissioner Brett Pointing has paid tribute to the “courageous’’ decisions by seven victims who came forward in the past month.
Mr Pointing said many of the victims who made official complaints were in their mid-to-late 20s, and could have been the law-abiding son or daughter of any Queenslander. They were seen randomly at the gym or in the public, and targeted because of the car they drove or the belief that they had disposable income.
He described the number of victims as “the tip of the iceberg’’ and urged others with similar experiences to come forward.
In one case a victim was ordered to set up a direct debit account so regular payments were made to a bikie on time.
In others a man moved house to escape bikies and in another a family had to chip in cash to save their son from a beating.
However, coughing up cash has not saved all the victims, with one man having facial reconstruction surgery.
Taskforce Maxima’s Detective Superintendent Mick Niland described the victims as “innocent’’, saying the gangs chose them at random or because they saw an opportunity to make money.
“These offences were committed in public places and targeted everyday Queenslanders,’’ he said.
“They have done this as a group, using their criminal gang membership to further intimidate victims to both comply with their demands but also to discourage them from complaining to authority.’’
Detective Inspector Brendan Smith said more victims were coming forward because of the bikie crackdown.
“It’s ridiculous; people should be able to go about their business any day of the week without fear of gangs interrupting their lives or threatening violence.’’