GANG-HO: The Bandidos have patched over
Christchurch gang Rock Machine to form a new
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club has not "patched
over" another gang in Invercargill, police say.
It was more likely they had recruited members
without gang affiliation.
At the weekend, police said the Bandidos held
a "patching-over ceremony", at which gang members rid themselves
of previous patches, often burning them, before taking on the
But the region's organised crime squad boss
says that was no longer believed to be the case.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said
police understood the Bandidos had not swallowed up an existing
gang but were recruiting "other people".
The police view is backed up by a gang expert.
Leading New Zealand gang researcher and
University of Canterbury sociology lecturer Jarrod Gilbert said
he would be surprised if the Bandidos had "patched over" an
existing gang in Invercargill.
None of Invercargill's gang members would be
likely to strip off their patches for the "Fat Mexican" patch of
the Bandidos, Dr Gilbert said. It was more probable they had
recruited riders without patches or people who may be
disillusioned with their former gang.
He doubted that the Road Knights would have
surrendered their patches to the Bandidos. "The Road Knights
have such a strong history in Invercargill. They own their own
club house and property and have fought many battles to to keep
hold of their own turf."
There was "no chance" the Bandidos had patched
over Black Power or Mongrel Mob members but the arrival of the
Bandidos Motorcycle Club could lead to a rise in tensions
between bike gangs in Invercargill and possibly gang warfare, he
The gang scene in New Zealand had been on a
steady decline for more than a decade but was now experiencing
an obvious expansion. "While New Zealand has been remarkably
peaceful in recent times, the prospect of gang wars is
significantly increasing and I believe is inevitable."
Invercargill had a long history of outlaw
clubs and violence associated with rival gangs, Dr Gilbert said.
Inglis said police were aware gangs did
involve themselves with violence but there had been other gang
movement in New Zealand, including the arrival of the Rebels
Motorcycle Club - established in Australia 40 years ago and one
of the largest outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia - and there
had not been an outbreak of violence.
People who become involved in these kinds of
groups needed to know they would come to police attention, he
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said it was a
concern to have another gang known for criminal activities in
But there was not a lot "a little council"
could do about it.
"We have been stripped of our powers to deal
with social, community and economic issues where maybe we could
do something," Shadbolt said.