A notorious international gang has set up a
chapter in Invercargill after "a patching over" at the weekend.
Police communications Inspector Murray Hurst
confirmed the Bandidos gang travelled to Invercargill and held a
"patching over ceremony".
According to the Bandidos Motorcycle Worldwide
Club website, the gang has now set up a "probationary chapter"
in Invercargill and another in Dunedin.
Other chapters throughout the world, including
Australia and Poland, were welcoming the groups to their
brotherhood on the website.
But Southland police area manager prevention
Inspector Olaf Jensen would not be drawn on the gangs'
activities in Invercargill and would not say which gang they
could have patched over.
Bandidos members were pulled over in Gore on
their way to Invercargill on Friday night, but police had not
responded to any call outs involving them during the weekend in
Invercargill, he said.
Intelligence had been collected before their
arrival and police were aware of their impending gathering
before the weekend.
Intelligence was also gathered during the
weekend and would continue to to be gathered.
"It's a concern for the police and the
community that we have got the presence of another gang."
The gang gathered in East Rd, north of
Senior Sergeant Bruce Terry said gang members
went through a series of check points including Dee St, and in
Matarua, and were also spoken to in Otautau.
Several infringement notices were issued,
along with a license suspension and one person was forbidden to
Mr Terry would not divulge what gang could
have been patched over.
It is understood the new Dunedin chapter was
initiated into the gang in Invercargill.
Sociologist Jarrod Gilbert, author of Patched:
The History of Gangs in New Zealand, said a patching over
ceremony was when gang members rid themselves of previous
patches, often burning them, before taking on the new patch.
"It's like a initiation."
If a patch over had taken place it would be
huge for Invercargill, Mr Gilbert said.
The ritual was "relatively rare" in New
Zealand, however, it had taken place in Invercargill before.
In 1989 the Devil's Henchman patched over The
Damned of Invercargill, he said.
The rise of the Bandidos reflected a
resurgence of motorcycle gangs in New Zealand, he said. "They
have come back into vogue.
"They want to expand around the country
because it gets them footholes and increases the brotherhood."
However, in New Zealand street gangs "will
always have bigger numbers".
Small numbers, several arrests or people dying
"risked the survival of the gang" so creating new chapters
ensured its viability in the country.
"The resurgence we have seen in these types of
groups does mean war between criminal groups is inevitable."
People were attracted to the gang because of
the brotherhood and family, and it generally attracted lower
socio-economic members, he said.
However, the men were often older and
therefore more mature, Mr Gilbert said.
"Individually they are involved in criminal
activity but they don't tend to orientate towards organised
"It does occur time to time but it's the
exception, not the rule," he said.