Court told of bikie’s
threats to bar owner
October 23, 2015, 1:00 am
Police pull over a car and seize it in 2013 in relation to extortion allegations that led to Ron Parr being charged.
“We run this city...and if
you don’t pay, we will close your business down by one means or
With those words, the most senior chapter of WA’s Comancheros bikie gang demanded $10,000 a week in protection money from the owners of a Northbridge karaoke bar.
And with late night visits from dozens of patched members, intimidating phone calls and texts — and eventually a Molotov cocktail thrown into the bar — the threats became a reality.
In the District Court yesterday, Ronald Ernest Parr, commander and most senior member of WA’s Comancheros gang, went on trial accused of masterminding the extortion racket prosecutors allege ran for more than a year up until May last year.
Mr Parr, who owned the gym which doubled as the Comancheros Northbridge headquarters, is accused of being present at the very start and the very end of the extortion attempt, which began before the targeted business had even opened its doors.
The owners steadfastly refused to pay any money, despite repeated visits from Parr and what prosecutors described as his foot soldiers and lackeys — including “Lethal” Leslie Grantham, the gang’s sergeant-at-arms and disciplinarian.
But when another associate, Selcuk Kilinc, rode up to the club early on March 9 last year and threw a bottle full of diesel up the stairwell, the owners contacted police.
The jury was told that call sparked a deep undercover operation, which set up a covert operative known as “Danny” to pose as the owner of the karaoke bar.
Four meetings between Danny and various Comanchero members were set up, and secretly recorded, during which they boasted how if businesses on their patch wanted to earn a living, they also needed to pay a fee.
Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo said at the apex of the gang was Mr Parr.
“He had absolute power within the club and all are answerable to him,” Ms Barbagallo said.
“Lethal Les”, with his facial tattoos and gold teeth, was his right-hand man.
And in a what was described as a “marriage of convenience” with a predominantly Asian group run by Van Hung Phan — also known as Baby Hung — the Comancheros used encrypted BlackBerry phones to run “their patch, their turf, their territory” in Northbridge.
That included a late night visit by 30 patched members of the gang to the bar in July 2013. One bikie licked the shoulder of the bar owner as she walked past.
After being guided into a room to be confronted by Mr Parr, the owner was told her refusal to pay “was getting serious”.
After “Danny” was introduced and earned the trust of the bikies, two “protection” payments of $10,000 were made to the gang by the undercover officer before police swooped in raids and arrests in May.
Mr Parr denies the charge of extortion, with his lawyer Richard Utting admitting his client was the boss of the Comancheros but that that did not mean he knew about the extortion scheme.
The trial is due to last two weeks.