This is a few days old, better late than never.....
SA Hells Angels and Finks raided
The South Australian clubhouses of the Finks and Hells Angels were raided simultaneously by 60 police including the AVATAR bike squad and Star Force.
Semi automatic weapons, stun guns, swords, baseball bats and cash were confiscated.
A small quantity of the designer drug fantasy was also allegedly found.
A senior member of the Hells Angels was arrested for assaulting police and dangerous driving, when he supposedly ran over a cops foot, out front of the Angels clubhouse.
The raids were in response to rumours (circulated by police) about escalating tensions between the two clubs.
Queensland disabled weapons
turn up in SA
Adelaide police say they are concerned that weapons disabled for use in Queensland have been found in South Australia.
The weapons were seized during simultaneous raids on the Adelaide headquarters of the Hells Angels and Finks motorcycle gangs.
Detective Inspector John Gerlach says no-one has been arrested in connection with the raids, but the investigation is continuing.
"I suppose the significance for us is that these guns, which are rendered inoperable in Queensland, have found their way down, and not just found their way down to any members of the public, but particularly outlaw motorcycle gang members, who we know are involved in criminal and unlawful activities," he said.
Inspector Gerlach says the raids came about through successful intelligence gathering within the police department.
"It's a direct result of the intelligence through those processes, that this job came about, and in response to those processes we received some information recently that there may be guns stored at the premises and as a result of that the raids were conducted," he said.
"I think that they probably were taken by surprise - there was no indications when we arrived at the premises that would suggest they knew we were coming."
Meanwhile, the Queensland Government says an old loophole in the state's gun laws may have let disabled weapons find their way into the hands of interstate criminals.
A spokesman for Police Minister Tony McGrady says it used to be legal to render a gun inoperable, and keep it as a replica.
The spokesman says that loophole was closed two years ago, so there should be no more such weapons.
Elders kick bikers off Aboriginal land
November 13, 2002 - Australia
Aboriginal elders from the remote West Australian community of Kalumburu are evicting two biker squatters from their land. The duo, from the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle club, had set up a fishing charter business at McGowan Island, near Kalumburu, according to the Kimberley District Police Inspector Ian Thomas. All visitors to the area need permits to stay and are asked to arrange them through the Kalumburu Aboriginal Community Council Office before they visit. Inspector Thomas said the bikers did not have permits. They had applied for them but, after police consultation, the Kalumburu community voted not to issue the permits. "Because of its remoteness, people do stay some time, but those two arrived with boats and were offering fishing charters," he said. "Their original permit application said they were interested in helping the locals set up some sort of tourist infrastructure in the area." A Kalumburu Aboriginal Council spokesperson said the bikers have until Monday lunch time to leave the community. But their departure will not be easy - the road into the community is cut because of the north's wet season conditions. He said the bikers may have to fly out on a charter plane or take a barge, but that would mean their boats, trailers and vehicles would have to be left behind until next year when the dry season began.
Hells Angels' members arrested
November 11, 2002 - South Africa
Four men, allegedly members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, were arrested in Johannesburg on Friday night for various crimes, including drug-making, police said on Saturday. Crime intelligence divisional commissioner Rayman Lalla said three of the men, aged between 30 and 45, were arrested in Sandton for allegedly operating a clandestine drug laboratory. Items seized included an unlicensed shotgun, rifle and handgun, a large quantity of unlicensed ammunition, three plastic packets containing the drug CAT, one plastic packet of dagga, three money bags containing cocaine, a small quantity of Ecstasy tablets, and various chemicals and equipment used in the manufacture of CAT. Lalla said the three would appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Monday. They would be charged with manufacturing and dealing in illicit narcotics as well as the possession of unlicensed arms and ammunition. The men were arrested following an intelligence operation by members of the organized crime unit, the SA Police Service, and the police's head office in Pretoria. The fourth man was arrested in Primrose Hall, near Bedfordview after he was allegedly found in possession of three motorcycles that were suspected to have been stolen. Police also seized 103 Ecstasy tablets, a small quantity of cocaine and CAT, as well as one unlicensed handgun with a silencer and ammunition. The man will appear in the Germiston Magistrate's Court on Monday. He said the police believed that "criminal elements" in the Hells Angels were involved in transnational organized crime. "These crimes are committed globally. The SA Police Services are working with our counterparts in Australia, Canada and The Netherlands in dealing with these crimes related to the Hells Angels group," Lalla said.
Bandido jailed for drug trafficking
November 11, 2002
Former head of the Bandidos motorcycle club in Queensland was jailed for eight years for trafficking heroin. Mario John Vosmaer, who is also a successful used car salesman, pleaded guilty today in Brisbane's Supreme Court to trafficking the drug over a 14-month period from 1994 to 1996. However, Vosmaer will be eligible for parole in three years after telling the court he sold the drug to help feed his wife's $600-a-day heroin addiction. Supreme Court Justice Ken Mackenzie rejected the prosecutor's calls for a maximum nine year jail term after Vosmaer also pleaded guilty to perjury and corrupting a witness in relation to the trafficking charges. Justice Mackenzie criticized the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions for taking so long to finalize the case after police dropped a bid to charge Vosmaer with money laundering.
Cut me some slack: Chopper
By Robert Reid
November 07, 2002
MARK "Chopper" Read says he
knows nothing about the recent disappearance of a bikie he was
jailed for shooting 10 years ago - but he knows he's at the top
of the police list of suspects.
Read spent almost six years in a Tasmanian jail for wounding Sidney Michael Collins, but claims he was in Perth on a comedy tour with former AFL star Mark "Jacko" Jackson when Collins allegedly went missing from the Gold Coast in August.
"I've been interviewed by the Victorian homicide squad over this, plus 34 times for other things over the years, so it's second nature to me," Read says.
"I had nothing to do with this and nothing to do with at least 20 of the others.
"I'm on the coppers' A list and the first thing they do when somebody gets killed is go and talk to Chopper Read.
"I drink and socialise with the homicide squad in a Collingwood pub and my partner Margaret makes them cups of tea when they come to see me."
Read and Jackson were in Cairns yesterday for the first of 16 Queensland shows of their "I'm Innocent Tour" of Australia.
The duo say their act has been described as "the most notorious coupling in entertainment history" and has attracted sell-out crowds across the country for the six months they've been on the road.
"It's an R-rated anecdotal humour show but a lot of fathers bring their sons to learn about street smarts, and 40 per cent of our audiences are women," Jackson said.
Read, who claims he is Australia's best-selling crime writer with 650,000 copies of his books now sold, bristles at the suggestion he has help with his prose.
"They are edited and that's it. I was a great letter writer in jail and I write for magazines as well.
"When I sit down to write a book I need at least 20 deaths to get started."
Read is working on an idea for a second movie based on his exploits. "We're thinking of calling this one 'Chopper - The Wild Colonial Psycho' but we could change that," he said.
Read and Jackson met on the set of an independent film called Trojan Warrior last year and decided to combine their talents into one comedy tour.
"If he was a dud he wouldn't be
working with me," Jackson said of his comic partner.
'Chopper' quizzed over disappearance
October 30 2002 -
NSW detectives yesterday interviewed Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read over the disappearance and suspected murder of Sid Collins, for whose shooting Read served eight years in a Tasmanian prison more than a decade ago. Mr Collins, a former president of the Black Uhlans outlaw motorcycle club, vanished in suspicious circumstances during a trip from his Gold Coast home to northern NSW to recover a debt in late August. He was reported missing by his son on September 1 and his XR8 was found the next day more than 100 kilometres away, near Tabulam, west of Casino, on the NSW North Coast. Police are yet to discover a body, but are treating Mr Collins's disappearance as a homicide. Read was interviewed in Melbourne yesterday by two Casino-based Criminal Investigation Unit detectives and a Victorian homicide squad detective at the St Kilda police complex. Read said he denied any knowledge of Mr Collins's whereabouts and accused the NSW detectives of harassment, saying they had only interviewed him so they could claim a trip south for the spring racing carnival. "They wanted to know whether I killed or whether I was responsible for [Collins's] disappearance," Read said. "It seems to me they've received a lot of information that I know something about it. I had to put them straight. I reckon he's faked his own death and is living in a motel room somewhere. He's a scurrilous individual." "Their trip coincides with the spring racing carnival ... and I pointed this out to them. They're probably down here putting bets on for Sid Collins." A NSW police spokesman denied the trip was timed to coincide with the racing carnival and said the detectives were following a routine line of inquiry. Read was sentenced to an indefinite jail term for the attempted murder of Collins in 1992. At the time, Read claimed he shot his former friend because he "thought too much". He was released in 2000.
New laws to crack down on bikers
October 31, 2002 - Australia
New laws may be introduced in South Australia to stop motorcycle clubs becoming involved in security firms, amid concerns the companies are being used as fronts for criminal operations. South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says the clubs are suspected of organizing friendly crowd controllers at pubs and clubs, giving them the chance to sell drugs at the venues. "What we suspect is that a particular motorcycle gang became involved in this area and, we think, purchased a firm supplying security agents, that they lined up a whole lot of people who were clean-skins with no criminal record to act as the licensed security agents . . . our suspicion is they were improperly influenced by the biker gang," Mr Atkinson said. He rejected suggestions police were unwilling to tackle the gangs because they feared retribution. "Police have tackled biker gangs head on they have a special operation, Operation Avatar, to deal with them." It is reported that at least four clubs are involved in two Adelaide-based security companies and two nightclubs. "It gives them better access to clientele and even to the younger customers," a source said. The gang-run security firms often targeted under-age functions because youth were considered "more dependable customers", the source said. It is impossible to link the clubs to the security firms or any illegal activity because the employed people have clean records. "These clean-skins the majority of them are good people, it's just that they're bankrolled by these people and it's good money." Security Institute president Stephen Tribbins said the institute met police every two months to discuss issues of concern, and gang involvement had been raised. "I understand there is one documented case where a biker gang became involved in a crowd-control company, and we did pass that on to the police," he said. Differences in licensing systems from state to state caused the industry problems, Mr Tribbins said. In South Australia, a state police check was required for people seeking a license. "It might be better for someone like the Australian Federal Police to have control of that," he said.
Gypsy Joker gets bail
October 16, 2002 - Australia
A Wodonga leader of the Gypsy Jokers motorcycle club had to pay $45,000 after being granted bail at Wangaratta Court yesterday. Magistrate Mr John Hardy made the surety a requirement of bail for Mr Brett Andrew Collins, 36, who had been remanded in custody after launching his application in Wodonga Court on Thursday. He had been charged with 10 offences after a police raid at his Riverview Terrace home in Wodonga that day. Mr Collins was charged with four counts of possessing the proceeds of crime, two of being a prohibited person with a firearm and counts of trafficking amphetamine, possessing amphetamine, possessing cannabis and defacing the identity of a firearm. Yesterday Mr Hardy granted Mr Collins bail after he was satisfied cause had been shown for the Wodonga tattoo parlour operator to be released back into the community. In addition to the $45,000 surety, Mr Collins was ordered, as part of the bail conditions, to report each day to Wodonga police and to reside at his Riverview Terrace home. Mr Collins was ordered to appear at the Wodonga Court on November 27. The court had heard last week from Wodonga detective Sgt Peter Revell that police feared Mr Collins may flee interstate, possibly to Western Australia or South Australia, if granted bail. Sgt Revell outlined the allegations against Mr Collins and told the court police had found $18,350 in cash, a bag of 70g of amphetamine, a pistol and ammunition when they opened a safe in a bedroom of his house. He said a police dog was then used to search buildings outside the house and $29,850 in cash was found attached to a wooden object in a garden shed. Sgt Revell described Mr Collins as a president of the Gypsy Jokers and said he had known him for six to seven years through previous dealings. Mr Collins told the court he had operated his tattoo business in High St for nearly eight years and employed three workers full-time and one casual. He said he had been with his de facto partner for five years and was involved in the care of three children. Im not going to go anywhere, Ive got a business here, Mr Collins told Mr Hardy last week in his application for bail.
01 OCT 2002,
Bikies sue for clubhouse
A BIKIE gang is suing to recover its clubhouse, seized after a senior member was jailed.
The Black Uhlans want the New South Wales Supreme Court to declare that three factory units, including the clubhouse, be held in trust for the gang.
The Uhlans claim the properties were bought on their behalf for $400,000 in 1991 by senior member Jack Andrew Wilson, later jailed for drug offences.
In 1994 the Peakhurst properties were transferred to the Public Trustee under the Criminal Assets Recovery Act.
The hearing before Justice Joseph Campbell was to continue.
The good, the bad, the bikie
Author: CASSIE McCULLAGH
|Soft-hearted tough guys or the
last of the free people in our society? Just what makes bikies
tick, asks CASSIE McCULLAGH.
IF bikies are such bad-arsed dudes, why are they always doing nice stuff such as charity rides and raising money for sick kids?
And, if bikies are really so soft-hearted and decent, why do they get around looking so mean and tough?
The cliche of the bikie as a gentle giant is as prevalent as that of the chain-wielding hell raiser. But is it subterfuge, or genuine concern?
It's just one of many ambiguities deliberately cultivated by the clubs over the years, says Professor Arthur Veno, who has studied Australian bikie clubs for 17 years.
``It's the PR side of clubs," he said. ``That's the lifestylers, the guys that are trying to keep the good image of the club up. I wouldn't see it as cynical, just one of the contradictions."
Lifestylers, he says, are the club members who love bikes and being in a club. Veno points out that a Hell's Angel carried the Olympic torch and that bikies regularly have blood donation competitions with police.
Having just published The Brotherhoods; Inside the Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, Veno, a social psychologist, is a leading authority on the mysterious worlds inside Australia's motorcycle subculture.
There's no question, he says, that bikies in the outlaw clubs identify themselves as ``bad dudes".
``They're no choirboys, as they say to me all the time," says Veno. ``But it's not about particularly criminal activity. It's more that the clubs work around four principal tenets: partying, riding, brotherhood, territorial defence. And it's the last one that gets them in all sorts of trouble."
While undoubtedly there is criminal activity in the bikie scene, the clubs are primarily about fellowship.
``They call themselves the last of the free people in society. But, really, there are so many rules and regulations and whatnot, I really reckon that the bikers who ride independently and have no affiliations are much more free people. The clubs are really there for people who need rules and the feeling of formal belongingness and power."
In some ways he believes the clubs play a valuable role in keeping some marginalised men inside the limits of a social framework. Otherwise they'd be alienated and dangerous loners without the structure of the club keeping them in line.
Veno's interest in bikies began as a young man in the United States. He was at a Hell's Angels beach party when a series of sexual assaults on two teenage girls allegedly took place nearby. Veno says he recalls the girls returning to the main party in a distressed state and many of the Hell's Angels rushing to comfort them. The club was subsequently vilified in ferociously negative media coverage.
Veno came to Australia 20 years ago and was most recently director of Monash University's Centre for Police and Justice Studies in Victoria. He did a research project on violence at Bathurst's Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in 1981. The Victorian police then asked him to collaborate on a violence prevention program when the grand prix moved to Phillip Island. Through this work he gained contacts within the clubs and ``started hanging around the scene".
``It's a bit voyeuristic of me, I guess, going in and looking at a culture, but not being a part of it," he said. ``It's also something that means I'm often called upon to help in certain ways."
While skirting around the edges of the scene, Veno has earned the nickname ``Mad Professor".
Where does the Illawarra club, the Fourth Reich, fit into the scene?
``They're an offshoot of the Gypsy Jokers and they formed as a brother club in about 1974. The impetus there, as with so many of the clubs in Australia, was the Vietnam War. There were a lot of returning veterans who felt disenfranchised and alienated."
In his book, Veno writes that not long after the formation of the Fourth Reich in Wollongong, 10 members were allegedly accused of raping a woman. The 10 fled to Queensland and formed a new club, the Black Uhlans, and no charges were ever laid over the rape. The Black Uhlans are now a well-established club, which Veno describes as highly secretive, thought to have a lot of ``legal investments". The Black Uhlans and the Fourth Reich share the same colours on their club patches so, Veno says, it's likely that links between the clubs still exist.
Is the Fourth Reich involved in some of the illegal activities associated with outlaw motorcycle clubs?
``It'd be very unlikely that it's the club and it would be more likely to be individual members," he said. ``In almost all cases you find that the business of the clubs is the lifestyle ...
``A few of the clubs have cleaned up the crims out of their clubs ... they take it upon themselves to self-police, because the criminals are a real problem for the clubs."
Yet it's the tough image that is part of the attraction of club life.
``It's the bad-boy image, the belongingness with something that rejects society. It's a paradox," Veno said.
He suspects the Fourth Reich's name, with its allusion to Nazism, has origins in the pre-Vietnam War rocker movement.
``They had swastikas and tatts. It was really `in' to offend society's morals."
Veno says the Fourth Reich is ``widely respected" within the outlaw scene, and is considered a ``hard core" club. Sources indicate that the club has about 30 full members.
While it makes politicians feel good about themselves, legislation against clubs has never worked, says Veno.
``We either end up losing a whole lot of civil liberties, as we throw the babies out with the bathwater, or it drives the clubs underground and they become more criminal, because it pushes the lifestylers out. It's a simplistic approach."
Veno's book opens with a quote from a Hell's Angel: ``We are modern day heroes, like Ned Kelly. Mr Average would be happy being told by the government what to think, when to drink, when to f.... That's not us. We are the last free people in society."
So, does Veno believe they are the last of the free?
``I certainly wouldn't join a club that had that kind of commitment and rules and call myself free. I think you're much freer being a lone rider who rides with a bunch of mates and goes down for a packet of cigarettes and ends up in Sydney, you know?"
Gypsy Joker gets 10 years
October 4, 2002 - Australia
The national leader of the Gypsy Jokers was jailed for 10 years today for possessing firearms and trafficking in cocaine and amphetamines worth about $3 million. Lennard Mark Kirby, 41, had earlier pleaded guilty in the Magistrate's Court to possessing cocaine with intent to sell or supply on December 7 last year, and possessing amphetamines with intent to sell or supply on December 8. Kirby also pleaded guilty to possessing three handguns and ammunition. The cocaine offences came to light on December 7 last year when police stopped the Gypsy Jokers leader's motorcycle. Kirby fled but was arrested after a dog found a packet containing 4.8 grams of 25 per cent pure cocaine where the club leader had been hiding. He was further charged after a December 11 raid on his rural retreat at Oakford, 40km south-east of Perth, which uncovered the guns, ammunition, and a lunch box containing 3.168 kilos of amphetamine. Kirby was sentenced in the District Court to 10 years' jail for the combined offences.
More shining examples of the police at work....
Ex WA cop tells how he and Don
A former WA cop has told a court he fabricated a confession which ultimately convicted the three Mickelberg brothers of the infamous Perth Mint swindle.
Tony Lewandowski also said he had been troubled for 20 years by keeping secret the knowledge that his colleague and friend, the late Don Hancock (he of the ultimate blow job fame), had assaulted Peter Mickelberg during the mint fraud investigation.
Lewandowski was giving evidence in the Court of Criminal Appeal as part of an appeal by the surviving Mickelberg brothers, Peter and Ray, against their convictions for the 1982 swindle.
The appeal was prompted by Lewandowski's admission to prosecuting authorities in June that he and Mr Hancock had fabricated evidence to convict the brothers of the crime.
Raymond Mickelberg served eight years of a 20-year jail term and Peter served six of a 14-year term.
Brian spent nine months in jail before having his conviction overturned, but was killed in a plane crash in 1986.
Lewandowski admitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in an affidavit that he and Mr Hancock had made up the Mickelbergs' confessions - but today is the first time he has testified before a court.
His appearance comes after the Mickelbergs' lawyers successfully argued that Mr Lewandowski - who had fled to Thailand after writing to the DPP - was in poor health, and that his appeal evidence should be expedited.
No date has been set for the full hearing.
Via video-link, the visibly-shaking Lewandowski told the court today he and Hancock had assaulted the Mickelbergs while trying to get them to confess to the gold heist.
He said he and Hancock had colluded to falsify a confession from the trio, saying it was Hancock's idea to frame the brothers.
Lewandowski said he had gone along with the deceit because the brothers were already locked up and there was insufficient evidence to convict them.
He said he agreed out of a false sense of loyalty, and said he had been lying about the Mickelbergs' confession for 20 years to judges, courts, the community and his family.
"It was a complete fabrication," he said.
Asked by acting DPP Simon Stone whether he had assaulted the then 22-year-old Peter Mickelberg, Lewandowski said: "I hit him around the head a few times."
"Peter was assaulted by both me and Don Hancock, but the exact particulars I can't recall."
However, Lewandowski did (did) remember how Hancock assaulted Peter Mickelberg, telling the court the youngest brother was lying on the floor at the time.
Hancock kicked Peter three times in the abdomen and Lewandowski had to physically stop the detective from continuing the assault.
"It is one of the things that has been troubling me during the past 20 years," he said.
Lewandowski's evidence will continue at
a later date.
Police seize drugs, guns in
There has been a major drug bust near Tamworth, in north-western New South Wales.
Police have taken possession of amphetamines believed to have a street value of more than $1 million.
Police were called to a home in the normally tranquil rural village of Weabonga, south-east of Tamworth, when shots were fired during a neighborhood dispute.
Police allege they found a loaded machine gun, other firearms, and chemicals they believe could have been used to manufacture a bomb.
A 36-year-old man was arrested and the home sealed off until specialist police arrived from Sydney.
During a search of the home they found the amphetamines.
Investigations are continuing.
charges; says witness
September 27, 2002
New Zealand:GANGS MEAN BIG BUSINESS
Gangs have turned away from their traditional patch of turf wars and
violent crime to the lucrative business of drugs. GEOFF CUMMING investigates.
A shooting, molotov cocktails, rock-throwing, eyeballing - scenes in
Palmerston North in the past fortnight as Black Power and Mongrel Mob
members squared off, recall images from the 1970s and 1980s on the streets
of South Auckland, Moerewa, Porirua and Christchurch.
Leather-clad, patched gang members and their Harley Davidsons are still
part of the landscape in most sizeable New Zealand towns. Equally
entrenched are the associations with booze and drugs, intimidation,
burglaries and armed robberies.
But a falloff in confrontations, part of a calculated move by the gangs to
lower their profile, has led to a belief that tougher laws and better
policing have brought them to heel.
In fact, say frontline police, New Zealand's gang problem is worse than
ever - it's just that the nature of the problem has changed.
Gangs have turned their attention from traditional turf wars and violent
crime to the extremely lucrative business of manufacturing and distributing
methamphetamines, mainly speed.
In line with overseas trends, speed is rapidly overtaking cannabis as the
drug of choice of recreational users and gangs have cornered the market.
Gang stalwarts have traded leathers and patches for business suits and
clubbing gear to mingle with middle-class users.
Many own flash houses, fast cars and run businesses - sometimes legitimate,
often to launder profits from drugs.
Gangs that once were bitter enemies have forged nationwide links to
manufacture and distribute speed and share intelligence.
For the first time in New Zealand, we have real organised crime, say
police. And, through methamphetamines, the barriers between gangs and
mainstream society are breaking down.
Northland police chief Viv Rickard says more people than ever are
associated with gangs.
"The difference is we are not physically seeing the damage they are doing
every day in the newspaper or on television. But the effects of the gangs
are more prevalent than ever in terms of the byproducts of what they are
Those byproducts range from violence stemming from psychotic reactions to
the drugs, to job losses, prostitution, theft and other crimes committed by
addicts feeding $500-a-day habits.
Nine murders in New Zealand have been linked to methamphetamine trading
Police are reluctant to speculate on the lead-up to the Waitangi Day
killing in Palmerston North of 16-year-old Black Power prospect Wallace
Whatuira, which is the subject of an inquiry.
But they warn such disputes could again become common. The extent of gang
involvement in methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution raises the
risk of territorial battles as the market reaches saturation point.
"They are like any business looking to expand," says Detective Sergeant
Sonny Malaulau of the national organised crime unit. "You will always have
some form of conflict with the competition."
The soaring demand for methamphetamines in New Zealand is associated with
young, affluent clubbers who want to dance all night. Speed is seen as
safer and cheaper than other stimulants such as Ecstasy.
But drug squad detectives say its popularity is more widespread than the
dance club set. An undercover operation in Taupo in October exposed
businessmen, housewives and schoolchildren as users.
"People who have come from decent homes and nice neighbourhoods have now
been lured into the use of this drug in epidemic proportions," said the
head of the operation at the time.
Perceptions that speed is a less risky drug with few long-term consequences
are false, say police and health workers. Heightening their concern is the
increasing availability of extremely pure speed, known variously as ice,
crystal, burn or P. Gangs ban their own members from using it for fear they
will become unreliable.
The gangs' grip on the methamphetamine market follows a decade of police
restructuring and political campaigns to combat gang activities with
Local authorities in 1997 began using powers to force gangs to tear down
walls and fortifications.
In 1998, the Harassment and Criminal Associations Act increased judges'
powers to impose non-association orders and to protect witnesses from
Under the 1991 Proceeds of Crimes Act, the Crown has seized more than $13
million from convicted drug offenders. The figure includes more than $1
million from Auckland chemist William Wallace, jailed for 10 years in 2000
for manufacturing methamphetamine.
But gangs have reacted by, for instance, renting, rather than owning,
headquarters and by becoming more covert in their activities.
In the past 18 months, police have made a series of multi-city raids to
break up major rings. But these busts have only exposed the size of the
drug problem and the extent of cooperation between gangs.
More resources are needed, say frontline police, particularly in Auckland
where they are now uncovering labs at the rate of one a week.
"If we had three times the number of staff working in this area it still
wouldn't be enough," said one detective.
Frustration over budgetary constraints was highlighted by the inquiry into
the December 2000 killing of Damian Povey at Kopu, near Thames. The
detective in charge, Mike Whitehead, threatened to quit the case because of
Lenient sentences that often follow police undercover work are causing
dismay. In one case, a hospital worker who stole enough pills to make up to
$2 million of speed was given 200 hours community service.
"There needs to be better awareness across all sectors of society of this
problem and sentences that reflect its seriousness," says Police
Association president Greg O'Connor.
Police want further law changes. A recommendation that methamphetamines be
reclassified under the Misuse of Drugs Act, allowing police to search
without a warrant, is before Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.
Pressure is also growing for changes to the Proceeds of Crimes Act to place
the onus on suspects to prove their assets are lawfully obtained. But it's
hard not to conclude that gangs have become a law unto themselves.
The old-fashioned standoff between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power in
Palmerston North will be frowned on by motorcycle gangs such as the Hell's
Angels, which won't deal with gangs that attract police attention.
O'Connor says many gangs have codes of conduct and other systems in place
to avoid turf wars.
"They impose fines or taxes if someone is found to have offended against
another gang rather than go out and attack each other."
Some discipline members whose criminal activities draw a police spotlight.
"It gets in the way of business - and that business is making money from
drugs," says Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Wilkinson of Hastings.
Malaulau says traditional rivalries are breaking down as ethnic gangs
cooperate to distribute drugs - following the example of motorcycle gangs
like Hells Angels, Headhunters and Highway 61.
The Auckland Hell's Angels chapter has affiliations with up to 15 gangs
throughout the country to distribute drugs, he says.
Wilkinson says Hawkes Bay gangs are dividing into set areas of vice,
starting protection rackets and "taxing" systems. "The main driving force
is the finance behind the drug money."
Some have eased out of traditional activities like burglaries, car theft
and distribution of stolen property because of the lower risk and greater
profit margins in stimulants.
In Auckland, they have expanded from liquor outlets into nightclubs,
massage parlours and strip clubs to sell drugs and launder money.
"In the old days the ethnic gangs would be fighting it out on the streets
of South Auckland and Porirua," says Malaulau. "To a large degree now they
are cooperating on a business level. That's why we don't see too many of
these scraps out on the streets."
The developing links between gangs and middle-class drug users worry
frontline police who say they lack the resources to fight organised crime.
"The real gang activity is taking place behind the scenes and there's some
very big money being made," says O'Connor. "When these people start to
increase their sphere of influence into mainstream society, New Zealand has
a real problem."
O'Connor and others fear it will lead to more Mafia-style activity, ranging
from blackmail and extortion to murder. He cites chemists subjected to
standover tactics by gangs setting up laboratories to do a "bake" or a "cook."
Police head of crime Bill Bishop says the police found more than 40 labs
last year, compared with 19 in 2000 and "two or three a year" before then.
"The streets of New Zealand are awash with methamphetamines," says
O'Connor, "and the growth of methamphetamines and the growth of gangs are
Gang man sells palatial home
A palatial Titirangi home has been sold by a Headhunters gang member acquitted of major drugs charges in a high-profile trial this year.
Peter William Cleven - known as "Pedro" - sold the Paturoa Rd house unconditionally at auction on Saturday.
His real estate agent would not disclose the sale price and said Mr Cleven sold for private reasons.
But it is believed the 0.4 ha property and 420 sq m house, valued at $1,050,000 last September, sold for $960,000.
In March, Mr Cleven - who police said was a kingpin of organised crime - was found not guilty in a retrial afforded unprecedented security, with the jury locked away at a secret location for the entire 17 days.
Mr Cleven was accused of having hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexplained income gained through a drugs operation conducted on a large and organised scale.
But he told the court his money came from hard work and legitimate business ventures, including angora goat farming, kauri furniture carving, property developments, sex industry investments and an activity he called "taxing", which involved being paid by people who crossed him.
Mr Cleven was arrested after police bugged conversations at the home in an investigation dubbed Operation Mexico.
The bush-clad house, for which Mr Cleven paid $880,000, was described in advertisements as a "family home [that] treats everybody to their privacy". It has a solar-heated pool, sauna, spa, tennis court and beach access.
After his acquittal, Mr Cleven said police had pursued him because they did not like a Headhunter having money earned legitimately. The trials had cost him his Mercedes-Benz car, powerboat, Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a rental property - $300,000 all up.
"I am a Headhunter. But this [drugs trial] has nothing to do with the Headhunters," he said at the time.
"It has nothing to do with drugs, either. It is all about money - the cops didn't like me having it."
September 12 2002 -
A former biker who survived being shot by Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read more than a decade ago may have met an untimely end on the New South Wales north coast. Sid Collins, who was shot in the chest by Read because he "thought too much", vanished in suspicious circumstances during a trip from his Gold Coast home to NSW to recover an underworld debt late last month. Mr Collins, a member of the Black Uhlans outlaw motorcycle club, was reported missing on September 1 by his son. Police searched his home and interviewed neighbors. Mr Collins' XR8 ute was found the next day more than 100 kilometres away near Tabulam, a small town west of Casino on the NSW north coast. Police from Casino's Criminal Investigation Unit conducted a line search of a remote property near Tabulam last Thursday. Forensic police also excavated a small section of a local property but a NSW police spokesman said nothing of significance was found. Neighbors said the property's owners kept to themselves but had guests at unusual hours. NSW police are treating Mr Collins' disappearance as a homicide. Mr Collins, 46, is well known to police across Australia and is believed to have been operating a mail-order-bride business from his Gold Coast home in partnership with his wife, based in Russia. Mr Collins is believed to have moved recently from Tasmania to the Gold Coast. "He has not been any trouble since he came up here, but we certainly knew to keep an eye on him," a Queensland police source said. Mr Read was sentenced to eight years in Hobart's Risdon Prison in 1992 for attempted murder after shooting Mr Collins, an associate, in the chest.
Pig sees the light
(from daily Telegraph)
STEPHEN William McDowell dedicated 17
years of his life to serving as a NSW police officer.
His police academy class graduation photo, dated June 25, 1979, shows him posing for the camera amongst other proud recruits.
He went on to serve as a highway patrol officer at Liverpool and a general duties officer at Green Valley and Fairfield before leaving the force in 1996 with a work related injury.
He served with the elite Tactical Response Group and was commended for bravery for shooting a dog which attacked while he was attending a west Sydney residence.
Now he has found himself on the other side of law enforcement.
Since he left the force with the rank of sergeant he has swapped his blue uniform for bikie leathers.
McDowell, 44, of Glen Alpine in Sydney's southwest, is now head of a chapter of one of the largest and most feared outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia.
He is president of the Campbelltown chapter of the Rebels bikie gang, presiding over about a dozen chapter members at the Rebel's clubhouse in Campbelltown's industrial district.
His nickname is ``the Brick'' and his strength is legendary -- he is famed for being able to bench press 180kg. His record remained unchallenged until this year.
He now faces the courts on a weapons charge for allegedly carrying a replica handgun shoved down the back of his pants.
Police allege the incident occurred on May 26 this year, about 12.30am, after McDowell left nightclub Club 209 in Queen St, Campbelltown's main drag.
At the time a pair of local detectives -- Senior Constables Matt Craft and Thomas Barnes -- were sitting at a set of traffic lights returning from a job.
They allege they saw a replica revolver fall from McDowell's pants on to the ground, and arrested him. McDowell was taken to Campbelltown police station where he was interviewed and charged with one count of possessing a prohibited weapon.
He was released on bail and has since appeared twice in the courts for mentions of the matter.
Court documents list McDowell's occupation as ``President, Rebel OMCG'' (outlaw motorcycle gang).
McDowell was due to make his third appearance on the charge -- to enter a plea or for mention -- yesterday but did not appear.
He had written a letter which was tendered to the magistrate stating he was booked in for intestinal surgery at Campbelltown Hospital.
McDowell, in the letter, also noted he had applied to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Campbelltown prosecutors to have the charge dropped, but had not heard back.
The matter was put over until September 25, for mention.
Rebels with a cause
* The Rebels are believed to be the largest outlaw motorcycle group in Australia. They have at least 700 members, thousands more associates, and 28 chapters nationally
* The Rebels have NSW chapters based in Armidale, Batemans Bay, Blacktown, Budgewoi, Campbelltown, Dubbo, Forbes, Gosford, Grafton, Hornsby, Huskisson, Macksville, Marrickville, Nelson Bay, North Shore, Orange, Parkes, Queanbeyan, Arleigh, Ulladulla, Bargo, Bringelly, Taren Point, Kingswood, The Entrance, Wagga Wagga and Whalan
* Outlaw motorcycle gangs (OCMGs) have long been heavily involved in the drug trade -- notably the manufacture of amphetamines and the hydroponic marijuana industry.
* They are also involved in protection rackets and the tow truck industry, firearms trafficking, prostitution, drug running and motor vehicle theft.
* State and federal police are concerned the Rebels are expanding and taking over the territory and illicit activities of other smaller outlaw gangs.
Goodsir, Transport Editor
August 30 2002
Threats of murder and other methods of "extreme pressure" are still being directed at officers at the Tow Truck Authority, four years after the Carr Government vowed to "kick out the cowboys" and clean up standover tactics.
The Director-General of Transport, Michael Deegan, said yesterday that officials in charge of reforming the industry were regularly under armed guard, and many staff received death threats from operators daily.
Mr Deegan said he expected the outbursts of "frustration" would increase when the trial of the job allocation scheme began later this year. The roster-based system was supposed to be operating three years ago.
"Dealing with a lot of tow truck drivers is a pleasure," Mr Deegan said in response to a Herald report detailing serious industry failings.
"But there are still significant
issues for the tow-truck industry to face, and I think we will be
in for a difficult period.
"Our staff are being threatened each and every day."
Last week the Transport Minister, Carl Scully, referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption "serious" claims of collusion and the use by one of his advisers of outlaw motorcycle gang members to intimidate rivals.
Mr Scully also suspended indefinitely the authority, chaired by the former Labor police minister Peter Anderson and the Tow Truck Industry Advisory Council.
The Herald revealed yesterday that Mr Scully and Mr Deegan had been notified of serious misconduct at the authority - including armed robbers and rapists receiving tow truck licences - in April last year in a critical report by Paul McKinnon, the former Olympic security chief.
The article also detailed how Kevin Waters, one of Mr Scully's council advisers and a preferred towing operator for NRMA Insurance, had employed for 12 years a member of the Comancheros motorcycle club.
The biker, Ian Raymond Clissold, the club's sergeant-at-arms, is now serving 16 years in jail for manslaughter over the bashing death of another gang member.
NRMA Insurance stressed its preferential dealings with Mr Waters - and Combined Towing, operated by Steve Willis, another council member - were part of a "trial" in parts of Sydney. There would be a tender for a statewide selective towing program.
Since the preferred scheme started in February, NRMA Insurance has added Active Towing to the program. The scheme applies only to accidents.
Mr Deegan said he was convinced ICAC would act "fiercely" in detecting whether the industry was still bedevilled by corruption.
Rejecting charges he failed to act promptly when first advised of misconduct 18 months ago, he said he immediately told ICAC about the McKinnon report.
Mr Deegan released a letter he sent at the time to the ICAC head, Irene Moss, in which he advised her of "corrective measures" he was undertaking. But at that stage there was no formal ICAC inquiry.
The Opposition transport spokesman, Peter Debnam, yesterday called for Mr Scully to stand aside pending the outcome of ICAC's investigation. He said Mr Scully had clearly misled parliament in claiming seven weeks ago that the industry was in fine shape.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would be looking into some of the industry's selective deals.
Witness tells of shooting
August 28, 2002 - Western
A gunman stood behind an injured man who was on his knees, poked his gun into the man's shoulder and fired, Bunbury Magistrate's Court was told yesterday. Witness Richard Prowse described the incident in the second and final day of a preliminary hearing of charges against senior Rebels member Gavin John McMaster. Mr McMaster, 35, was committed to the Supreme Court to face trial on two counts of attempted murder in relation to a shooting at Bunbury nightclub Area One on the night of February 8-9. He is expected to plead not guilty to the charges at a plea hearing on October 8. Mr Prowse, 28, a nightclub security worker, said he had finished work at another bar and was outside Area One when he heard five noises which sounded like firecrackers. He said he then saw a man on his knees who was clutching his stomach. A man dressed in black and wearing a black hat was standing behind the kneeling man, with his arm outstretched holding a gun which he poked into the kneeling man's shoulder. Mr Prowse said because of the angle of the man's hat, he could not see the gunman's face. The gun was a small .22 calibre with gold engraving. He said he heard it fire and hid behind a tin wall. He then heard a man's voice saying "Let's get out of here", and when he looked around the wall both the kneeling man and the gunman had gone. Mr Prowse was only the second witness of nine who said they had been at Area One on the night of the shooting who recalled seeing a gun. The other was fellow security worker Sakhorn Zac Haoham, who told the hearing on Monday he had seen Mr McMaster holding a gun inside the nightclub. A police ballistics expert told Monday's hearing that the gun likely to have been used in the shooting, in which two men, Andrew Geldert and James Garland, were injured, was one of two types of small .22 calibre guns. Two witnesses on Monday and one yesterday recalled seeing Mr McMaster wearing a black hat in the nightclub on the night of the shooting. Yesterday, Magistrate Robert Lawrence questioned Mr McMaster's Melbourne-based barrister, Brett Galloway, about an alleged assault in a waiting room outside the court on Monday. Det-Sgt Greg McDonald, of Bunbury, said police officers who had been providing extra security inside the courthouse on Monday had seen no sign of an assault.
20 August 2002
blame motocross, Mum" were the last words Kay Urwin's son
Niki said to her over the phone on Sunday as he lay paralysed
following a serious racing accident in Australia.
The 23-year-old Tauranga-based motocross ace suffered serious spinal and chest injuries and is paralysed from the waist down after he fell from his bike and was hit by a following bike during the Australian four-stroke nationals in Wonthaggi, near Melbourne.
His father, Gary, and his girlfriend, Katie Ashby, have flown over to be by his side.
Mrs Urwin remains in Tauranga and said she and Gary would be taking turns to be by their son's side over the tough weeks ahead.
This morning Mrs Urwin said she was clinging to every positive thought.
"You have a wonderful, brilliant child and you just love him as much as you can. We have always had commitment to Niki. The last thing he said to me on Sunday was 'Don't blame motocross, Mum, I have loved every minute of it'."
Mrs Urwin said Niki's initial fall was minor after his front wheel "washed out" and he would have been about to jump up and get back on his bike, but was hit by the following bike.
Urwin suffered chest and spinal injuries and is in the Austin Spinal Unit in Melbourne, where he is paralysed from the waist down.
Mrs Urwin said although his condition was very bad, she certainly was not discounting a "miracle".
"They have told him he is paralysed - but you can't go on that. A miracle could happen."
"Initially he was very scared. Niki is on the bottom rung of a big ladder, but I believe he is in the best medical facilities in the world."
Niki has been racing in Australia for the past 18 months.
A former junior age-group national champion, Urwin had progressed from being one of the most promising young riders on the local scene to carving out an international career.
On several occasions Urwin has been among the leading domestic riders in the New Zealand championships, chasing Europe-based riders including world championship front runners Josh Coppins and the King brothers. His biggest success had been winning the 2001 New Zealand supercross crown.
Since graduating from Waikato University last year he has raced professionally in Australia with the Suzuki team in 2001 and Kawasaki this season.
16 August 2002
Williams would drive around in her patrol car doing routine jobs
and ordering her colleagues about.
But Williams was no ordinary cop - she was really a he, a 22-year-old cross-dressing fraudster on a three month long crime spree that stretched across the North Island. Williams stole handcuffs, pepper spray and a police issue shirt, jumper and boots.
He took a car as well, even though it was parked back outside the front of a station at the end of a "shift" and picked up again later.
Out on the beat, Williams would go to jobs as they came over the police radio - escorting a drunk punter from the casino, turning up at a shoplifting incident at a Farmers store then handing it over to an unknowing officer.
Yesterday, Williams - also known as Turori Chapman and listed on court documents as a male of no fixed abode - was sentenced in Manukau District Court to 4? years jail for a raft of crimes done between his release from prison in April until embarrassed police caught him in June.
Privacy issues mean it is not known whether he will serve the sentence in a male or female prison. The crime spree began when he walked into Wellington Hospital, picked up the keys to a fleet car and began heading towards Auckland. At Taupo, he swapped cars - again stealing keys from inside a hospital - then in Hamilton, he impersonated a doctor and did a runner from a motel.
After reaching Auckland, he impersonated a Koru Club valet parker at the airport and got away with a $38,000 late-model Commodore from an obliging traveller.
In early June, he climbed through an open window into the women's toilets at the Onehunga police station and took a female constable's uniform and equipment from the lockers.
After his first job at the Farmers store on June 5, he went to the Mangere police station where he walked in with a group attending a recruiting meeting, spoke to an officer in the foyer, then ducked through an open door to a restricted area.
He went into the constable's room, took a set of keys, then went out to the carpark and got a patrol car.
Williams spent the next few days driving around, filling up the car on the police petrol card and listening to the police radio and telling people at jobs he was a "roving sergeant".
Police captured Williams on June 16, and although recovering some of the uniform, never found the pepper spray.
Police could not say yesterday either when or how they found out the car was missing.
Counties-Manukau District Commander Ted Cox said security has since been improved at the Mangere station and the entire district told to review their security s would drive around in her patrol car doing routine jobs and ordering her colleagues about.
Acting Auckland District Commander Chief Inspector John Palmer said the Onehunga station was being renovated at the time of the burglary and the toilet window had been left "slightly ajar" for paint to dry. Security was tight otherwise.
"It was just one of those things ... It is more than a trifle embarrassing for the firm, but I guess these things happen."
Accused biker refused bail
August 15, 2002 - Australia
A Biker accused of taking part in a vicious gang assault while on bail over another attack has been refused bail. Jon William Firkins, 29, was one of four Coffin Cheaters who were to have faced a preliminary hearing last month over the baseball-bat bashing of two men outside the Raffles Hotel last September. They were released when the Director of Public Prosecutions offered no evidence. Prosecutor Troy Sweeney revealed two witnesses had become uncooperative and another could not be found. However, police allege that while Mr Firkins was on bail over charges relating to the Raffles attack he and two other bikers brutally bashed a 26-year-old man at Wanneroo. He was arrested and held in custody before a bail application was heard last week. In a written judgment given yesterday in the Supreme Court, Justice Christopher Pullin said the alleged Wanneroo attack was planned and violent. The crown would allege that Firkins, a Coffin Cheaters prospect, and fellow biker Gavin Ronald Dixon, 33, had been living at the club's Fremantle chapter clubhouse in Beaconsfield in May. About that time, Mr Dixon had been trying to patch up his relationship with former girlfriend Renee Louise Jones, who was seeing another man. When Mr Dixon discovered the existence of the other man - Jacob Roushdi Hanna - he flooded Ms Jones with mobile phone text messages. He also sent messages to Mr Hanna, most of which were threatening and violent, Justice Pullin said. Mr Hanna was later lured to a park in Wanneroo where he was to collect some money from a man named Wayne Gibbs. There he was attacked. "When Hanna located Gibbs he realized there were other people present. He recognized Dixon," Justice Pullin said. "Dixon and others then set to with weapons, including a baseball bat and some sharp weapon, and administered a severe beating which left Hanna severely injured." Mr. Hanna had stab wounds to the left arm, head and right calf, bleeding from the brain and broken arms and legs. He needed emergency surgery. Justice Pullin said the crown would allege Ms Jones had waited in Mr. Hanna's car during the attack. He said Ms Jones told police that a man wearing a black jacket had opened the car door and taken the car keys before running away. Ms Jones then ran to a nearby house but was followed by a man she later identified as Mr. Firkins. A black jacket was found in Mr. Firkins room at the Beaconsfield clubhouse. Justice Pullin said the crown case was strong and there was no reason for him to grant bail.
10 August 2002
By MELANIE APPLETON
West Auckland police say about 40 per cent of the clandestine drug laboratories discovered nationwide in the last financial year were found in the combined Waitakere, North Shore, Rodney police district.
Detective Senior Sergeant Colin McMurtrie says 60 clandestine drug laboratories were found nationally in 2001.
This year's tally was already at 61 by July and set to increase after simultaneous raids across Auckland on Tuesday resulted in 18 people being arrested on a variety of drug related charges.
Included are patched members and associates of the west Auckland-based Headhunters gang.
"I am anticipating reaching 100 this year," says Mr McMurtrie.
Police also seized drugs, and a large amount of cash and guns, during the latest raids.
"We found pistols, revolvers, rifles. Violence and methamphetamine go hand in hand. When we raid a place we usually do find cash and guns as well. And that's a very worrying trend," says Mr McMurtrie.
Crime manager Detective Inspector Kevin Baker agrees.
Mr Baker says police officers searching illegal laboratories often find a large assortment of firearms.
"These groups are serious and will take whatever means necessary to protect their business," he says.
"This is a real problem that we have to do something about quickly."
80 police, two investigations
into Whakatane violence
29.05.2002 5.00 pm
More than 80 police are now working on Whakatane's weekend gang-brawl death and related shooting.
Police spokesman Jon Neilson told NZPA today the investigation was progressing satisfactorily.
Large numbers of extra police were poured into the area after Mongrel Mob associate Te Rangi Tait Carroll, 20, of Ruatoki died from a stab wound on Whakatane's main street early Saturday.
He was knifed as about 30 rival gang associates brawled.
The extra police were drafted in to keep a lid on trouble between Black Power and the Mongrel Mob.
Tension rose higher in Whakatane on Monday night after a gang-related shooting.
A man inside a town dwelling was hit twice in the leg by shots fired from the street in what police said was an act of retaliation for Mr Carroll's death.
The man is hospital.
Police say his wounding is being treated as attempted murder and a separate inquiry on it is under way.
Inspector Jim Mansell of Whakatane police said today police had identified the people involved in the Saturday morning brawl.
"A large number of gang members were involved with the assaults on Carroll and an associate of his. These people have associations with another faction, but Carroll and his associate were operating quite independently."
He added police could only speculate on the brawl's cause but gang patches appeared to have been worn, he said.
Meanwhile, police want information about a late-model silver Mitsubishi Lancer linked to the shooting and other incidents.
The Mitsubishi, stolen from Galatea, southwest of Whakatane, on May 9, rammed another car several times in Taneatua about 10pm on Monday night and chased around town.
Three men were treated for minor injuries as a result.
The Mitsubishi has been found abandoned, its front and rear licence plates not matching.
In another development yesterday, three men appeared in Whakatane District Court.
Their names and all details about the case were suppressed.
Meanwhile, a police check point at Taneatua remains in place until gang tensions ease, police said.
Cannabis set-up found in
Police seized more than 60 cannabis plants from a house linked to a member of the God's Garbage bike club in Hopeland, west of Serpentine, yesterday.
Officers from the police motorcycle gang response group searched the property in Karnup Road about noon and uncovered a sophisticated hydroponic system inside the house.
The cannabis plants were at various stages of maturity with some ready for harvesting. Police interviewed several people at the property and a 32-year-old man was charged last night with cultivating cannabis.
The discovery is the latest in a string of hydroponic cannabis busts by WA police. Last Thursday, 200 plants were found growing inside a factory unit in Malaga.
On the same day, two people were charged after cannabis plants, cash and a handgun were found at a house in Neerabup. Two people were charged.
Cannabis plants grown hydroponically are more potent than those grown naturally and fetch far higher prices on the street..(duuuh really????)
Jees what next...
Identity tags to nab bikes
May 23, 2002 - Australia
MOTORCYCLES could be fitted with electronic tags to stop riders evading speeding fines and CityLink tolls. VicRoads may consider the idea because motorbikes do not carry front number plates and often can not be identified in infringement photographs. But the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce yesterday warned that the tags could lead to Big Brother surveillance of bikers. And a report prepared for the Transport Accident Commission said motorcyclists have a cavalier attitude to some road safety issues. The report said bikers too often blamed motorists for accidents and usually rejected the dangers of speed. VicRoads general manager of road safety, Eric Howard, confirmed that a consultant had raised the option of fitting tags to motorcycles. More than 3000 motorcyclists detected by police speed cameras in the past year have escaped prosecution. But Mr Howard said VicRoads' first option was to put ID stickers on the front of bikes. "There's no suggestion it (an electronic device) is being seriously considered," he said. "It's part of a research and development program and has no status at all." VACC executive director David Purchase said if tags were introduced, they must be used only for tolling and speed detection purposes. "We don't want them linked to global positioning systems so motorcycles are under 24-hour surveillance," he said. In a separate TAC report, market research consultants have criticized motorcyclists' attitudes to road safety. Sweeney Research found that riders claimed to have a greater sense of road safety than motorists, but admitted to "opening up the throttle on open roads". "In more than 80 per cent of fatalities, Victoria Police believe the motorcyclist was at fault, the exact opposite to the cyclists' belief," it said. Last year, Victoria had 64 motorcycle deaths, up 42 per cent on 2000. The State Government announced in its last Budget that TAC motorcycle premiums will rise by $50 for motorcycles above 125cc to pay for a new safety program.
Police crack crime racket
May 23, 2002 - Australia
A TASMANIAN-based international money laundering, drug trafficking and abalone poaching racket has been exposed by Tasmania Police. A series of arrests is expected shortly as police finalise their top-secret, nine-month investigation. Operation Oakum, run by a team of 12 hand-picked Tasmanian police officers, has been investigating the actions of a large number of people in Tasmania, Queensland, other parts of Australia and several Asian countries. In charge of the operation, Commander Bob Fielding yesterday confirmed that Tasmania "played a major role" in the conspiracy. Cdr Fielding said police had searched a number of homes and businesses in Hobart and surrounding areas in recent weeks. "Certainly we have searched a lot of premises and interviewed a lot of people," he said. "We are acting in response to information received relating to a number of serious matters involving various crimes." Cdr Fielding confirmed that large-scale abalone poaching was part of the inquiry. "We are talking about the stealing of abalone resources and of exporting it nationally and overseas," he said. Asked about money laundering and drug trafficking, he said there were aspects of the inquiry which he could not discuss. "There are various crimes, some I can discuss, others I can't," he said. Police are known to have raided homes and businesses in Tasmania and some abalone factories in Queensland, seizing business records, packaging materials and other equipment which Cdr Fielding said was "used in the operation of unlawful businesses". "The operation is well-organised and sophisticated," he said. "There are quite a number -- a large number -- of people [who will be facing] serious charges." It is believed the gang has connections in several Asian countries as well as mainland states. Cdr Fielding said other law enforcement agencies were involved in the inquiry. He would not elaborate on the amount of money involved in the criminal activity except to say it was "considerable". The Operation Oakum taskforce has been working out of secret premises in Hobart and recently moved to a secure room in Hobart police headquarters. The 12 officers were chosen from around the state to run the secret inquiry. Oakum is defined in the Collins dictionary as being a stringy hemp fibre obtained by taking apart old ropes. The revelations come a week after an Australian Institute of Criminology report found Asian triads, Russian mafia and motorcycle gangs were involved in Victorian abalone rackets. The report said gangs traded high-value abalone for heroin and marijuana overseas. The report -- the first to analyse abalone crime -- also said the involvement of gangs such as triads, bikies and mafia increased the chances of violence.
Warren in Moscow
May 23 2002
|The punch as seen by millions of TV viewers. Photo: AFP|
A senior Russian policeman has been caught on camera punching a mother and her infant daughter in the face, generating outrage in a nation that usually shrugs off thuggish behaviour by the police.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Lysenko, traffic police chief in the port of Vladivostok, was suspended pending an inquiry into the incident, but the decision has failed to curb a national uproar.
Television footage shows the officer aiming and landing a right-handed jab at the two during a bad-tempered demonstration in the city on the Pacific coast last week. The story has occupied the front pages of newspapers and led many news bulletins.
The woman, Svetlana Demidova, had tried to shoo the officer away before he lunged at her and her child. Her daughter, who was in her arms, screamed in fear and shock. President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the episode, which followed a pledge by Boris Gryzlov, the Interior Minister, to improve the image of the police.
The pictures, repeated over and over on
television and even replayed in slow motion, have shocked the
Most Russians have a low enough opinion of the force for its corruption and incompetence, but the spectacle of a uniformed officer hitting a defenceless woman and child has stunned even the fatalistic.
The altercation erupted last Friday during a protest by fishing workers owed a year's back pay owed by a local firm. Dozens of people blocked the traffic.
Ms Demidova was one of a number stopping trolleybuses and ignoring police pleas to clear the roads.
"He started to grab me," Ms Demidova said after giving evidence to local prosecutors. "I naturally tried to brush him off. I raised my hand and in return received a blow in the face.
"When I turned around, my child was crying. From her words, I learnt about the blow and saw its results on her face."
Colonel Lysenko has not only been suspended from his duties. The performance of the police during the protest is now the subject of an inquiry and the officer faces a maximum 10-year sentence on charges of exceeding his authority.
The Telegraph, London
Christchurch cop quits over
20.05.2002 8.21 am
A Christchurch policewoman has quit the force after cannabis was found in her crashed car.
Police Minister George Hawkins has said there was insufficient evidence to charge the off-duty officer with a cannabis-related offence, but she was to have faced internal disciplinary action. (wot no blood test!!!)
Comanchero jailed for 10 years
Tooled up with a spiked knuckleduster, meat cleaver and knife, bikie gang members rounded on fellow Comanchero Peter Ledger to teach him about club discipline after a dispute over a Harley Davidson.
The lesson was lost on the 44-year-old.
His battered body was dumped outside the western Sydney home of his estranged wife on August 4, 1999, after what Justice Greg James described as a "vicious and appalling torture".
Comancheros "sergeant-at-arms" Ian Raymond Clissold of Mount Druitt was jailed for at least eight years today for the manslaughter of Mr Ledger after pleading guilty in the NSW Supreme Court.
He was sentenced to another two years for an assault on Gregory Simons at the Erskine Park home from where he abducted Mr Ledger for "a flogging" under the orders of "supreme commander" Jock Ross.
The dispute was sparked after Mr Ledger arranged for Comancheros nominee Terry Scott to trade in his Triumph motorbike for another member's Harley for $1500.
However, it turned out the deal was not sanctioned by club leaders and both men were ordered to reverse it which they did immediately.
But they had breached the code of discipline and for that Mr Ledger had to be punished.
Clissold was arrested five months later after admitting to the father of his de facto that he had been ordered "to sort somebody out who had been causing a bit of trouble" and had to "teach him a lesson but it went a bit too far".
So vicious was the beating inflicted on Mr Ledger that his right cheekbone was completely detached from the rest of his face while injuries to his legs and knees indicated a spiked knuckleduster has been used.
Facing a murder charge, Clissold pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a plea bargain, claiming he had walked away complaining of abdominal pains before Mr Ledger was eventually killed by two other bikies.
Justice James said without the plea there was a "substantial risk" he could have been acquitted of all charges and discounted his sentence by 20 per cent.
His legal team had argued the sentence should be discounted further because Clissold had acted under orders.
While there was some evidence he had distanced himself from the bike club while behind bars, he still "retains a loyalty to the objectives of the club and the supreme commander", Justice James said.
He will be eligible for parole in January 2010
|18 arrested in raid on Nomads
Northern Territory 13/5
The role of outlaw
motorcycle gangs who manufacture drugs in the Territory could be
a focus of the NT Government's crackdown on drugs.
The increased use of amphetamines and profits that organised crime groups make from the supply of cannabis are of major concern to senior police.
The Government will justify its legislative crackdown on drugs to Territorians in a pamphlet outlining our drug problems.
It lists the manufacture and distribution of amphetamines in backyard laboratories -- known as ``clan labs'' -- as a main concern.
Outlaw motorcycle gangs were expected to be targeted by new NT drug legislation after the appointment of Police Commissioner Paul White last November.
Mr White was well known for his tough line on bikie gangs in South Australia, where he was the state's assistant police commissioner.
The Government quotes the NT Illicit Drug Trends 2001 report that indicated the use, supply and manufacture of amphetamines was increasing in the Territory.
The drugs, including the purer amphetamine called ``ice'', can be manufactured using chemicals such as pseudoephedrine, which are available over the counter at pharmacies.
The Government's information pamphlet will highlight the increase in local drug manufacturers and suppliers, which is reflected in the increased arrest rates for drug offences.
Arrest rates for the use and supply of amphetamines had risen 515 per cent between 1998 and 2001.
The NT Drug Trends 2001 report showed arrests went from 26 in 1998-99 to 124 in 1999-2000 and 160 in 2000-01.
More seized from Coffin
A property with alleged links to the
Coffin Cheaters outlaw motorcycle gang was seized by police after
a raid on a Kalbarri property in central Western Australia.
A 27-year-old man with links to the bikie gang has also been arrested on charges of selling amphetamines, possessing cannabis and possession of smoking implements.
Saturday's seizure and arrest follows Friday's raids on properties in Geraldton and Perth that resulted in 10 people being charged with drug offences and the seizure of a clubhouse owned by the Coffin Cheaters bikie gang, worth $200,000.
Organised Crime Acting Superintendent Rick Scupham said it was the first time in Australia a clubhouse belonging to an outlaw motorcycle gang had been seized under laws governing the assets of drug traffickers.
"There has never been a seizure of an outlaw motorcycle gang clubhouse in Australia previous to this," Supt Scupham said.
Acting Commander of North-Eastern Region Allan Gronow said the raids were part of an ongoing crackdown on drugs trafficking in Geraldton.
He said the Coffin Cheaters' Geraldton clubhouse had been seized because the raids had netted a trafficable quantity drugs.
Under West Australian drug laws the assets of drug traffickers can be seized and auctioned.
"There has been assets seized, and in particular the outlaw motorcycle clubhouse in Geraldton," Commander Gronow said.
Police seized the Kalbarri property, about 140km north of Geraldton, after charging a 50-year-old bikie gang member with drug-related offences on Friday.
All those arrested in the raids are
expected to face court in Geraldton later this week.
Suspect in biker riot released from jail
May 10, 2002 - Las Vegas
A man facing murder and other charges in a Laughlin biker riot has been released from the Clark County Detention Center after posting $250,000 bail. Calvin Schaefer, 32, of Chandler, Ariz., emerged from the Clark County Detention Center sometime Thursday. "I'm very happy he's out," said Schaefer's attorney, David Chesnoff. "We are looking forward to getting busy dealing with the real facts of the case." Schaefer is the man who authorities say shot at least two people inside Harrah's Laughlin casino on April 27. There, the Hells Angels and Mongols motorcycle clubs clashed in what authorities have said was part of an ongoing feud. The two people authorities say Schaefer shot survived. Three others in the riot died and police are trying to identify other riot participants pictured on surveillance videotape.
WA Rebels' gang members facing drug
In the Perth Magistrates Court, five members and two associates of the Rebels Motorcycle Gang have been committed to stand trial on drug and money laundering charges.
It is alleged senior rebels' member Raymond James Washer, John Dilenaand Andrea May Scott were involved in a deal to bring 1.96 kilograms of speed from Queensland to WA.
The court was told the group, along with four other people, were charged after police seized the drugs in June 2000.
Magistrate Steven Malley today said there was sufficient evidence to commit the group to stand trial in the District Court.
They were remanded to appear on July 19.
Gypsy Joker pleads guilty
THE Gypsy Jokers bikie gang's
national leader pleaded guilty today to charges of possessing
cocaine and amphetamines worth about $3 million.
Lennard Mark Kirby, 40, pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrate's court to possessing cocaine with intent to sell or supply on December 7 last year, and possessing amphetamines with intent to sell or supply on December 8.
Kirby was arrested after a raid on his rural retreat at Oakford, 40 km south-east of Perth, on December 11.
He was also charged with delivering and disposing of firearms and ammunition without a licence, but was not required to plead to these charges today.
Kirby will be sentenced on July
19 on the drugs charges. He is expected to plead on the firearms
charges on the same date.
15 arrested in swoop on bikies
FIFTEEN members and associates
of the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle gang have been arrested in a
police swoop on properties in the port city of Geraldton, 420km
north of Perth.
Police said the raids, which took place late yesterday and today, had netted a quantity of amphetamines and cannabis.
Organised crime and Geraldton detectives had arrested 15 people on drugs charges in connection with the seizures.
The information leading to the raids had come mainly from public tip-offs, a police spokesman said.
He said more information would be released later today.
Bikers, crime bosses form
May 9, 2002 - Australia
Police are now saying that bikers and high profile organized crime figures are forming powerful alliances in Perth. Reportedly, intelligence gathered by detectives monitoring both groups for the last several years indicate they are working together. Allegedly the union has given the bikers unprecedented access to sophisticated drug supply and distribution networks. It also has enabled the bosses, some the target of big police operations, to take a step back from the drug trade's front line. Members of both groups can be seen regularly socializing at Northbridge nightspots. Det-Sen. Sgt Jim Cave told delegates at the Australasian Conference on Drugs Strategy yesterday that the Perth drug market had traditionally been dominated by European and Asian syndicates. "In line with international trends, what we are finding now is that the outlaw motorcycle gangs are taking over," he said. "They are doing it with the skills of the (crime figures) who have given them access to their criminal network." The relationship is allegedly believed to be worth millions of dollars a year. Sen. Sgt Cave said the alliance was also exploiting Australia's heroin drought to build new markets for drugs such as cocaine. He said cocaine had become readily available in Perth because South American producers were keen to develop new markets outside Europe and the United States. Police say bikers were also behind many amphetamine laboratories and hydroponics cannabis growing operations being run out of Perth suburban homes. Sen. Sgt Cave said the bikers employed "house-sitters" to take care of drug crops and take the rap if discovered by police. The drug-growing operations were becoming increasingly sophisticated, with power and water meters bypassed often to avoid arousing suspicion. Heroin is the only drug the bikers refuse to touch say police. Under their strict codes of conduct, members caught using the drug can face severe punishment or expulsion. However, members are not prevented from using other drugs, such as speed. A new alliance between the bikers and crime figures would not be the first time they have joined forces. The West Australian reported last year that both groups had contributed to a fighting fund set up to pay for a legal challenge to WA's tough new asset seizure laws. Queensland police report they have also seen a growth in biker drug crime. Assistant Commissioner Andrew Kidcaff said yesterday bikers were heavily involved in amphetamine manufacturing in his State. He said more than 50 per cent of clandestine laboratories were linked to bikers. "Outlaw motorcycle gangs play a significant role in the manufacture and distribution of amphetamines in Australia," he said. "There is also evidence (in Queensland) of some OMCG collaboration with South-East Asian organized crime gangs."
13 charges filed against Hells Angel
May 9, 2002 - LAS VEGAS SUN
Clark County prosecutors Tuesday filed 13 felony charges, including murder and attempted murder, against an Arizona man accused of taking part in a deadly brawl at Harrah's Laughlin. Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Bloxham filed the charges against Calvin Schaefer, 32, during a hearing in which Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis ruled Schaefer's bail money was legitimately obtained. Schaefer was expected to be released from the Clark County Detention Center sometime today after posting 10 percent of his $250,000 bail. Schaefer faces eight counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, one count of open murder, two counts of second-degree murder and a single count of burglary with use of a deadly weapon. All of the charges carry a criminal gang enhancement, which doubles any potential sentence. Attorneys in the case declined to comment immediately after the hearing and could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Police allege Schaefer, a Chandler sheet metal worker, fired at least 11 shots in the April 27 confrontation between the Hells Angels and Mongols. Although authorities have conceded they cannot prove any of Schaefer's shots killed anyone, a surveillance tape reportedly shows the Hells Angel member firing three shots at Benjamin Leyva, a member of the Mongols, who gets up and limps away. Three California men -- Jeramie Dean Bell, 27, of Hughson, Robert Emmet Tumelty, 50, of Stockton, and Anthony Salvador Barrera, 43, of Rancho Cucamonga -- were killed. Police say Bell and Tumelty, who were members of the Hells Angels, were shot to death. Barrera, a reputed Mongol, was stabbed to death. According to the criminal complaint, Schaefer was charged with the murder of Barrera under five legal theories. One theory is that Schaefer and the other bikers planned to commit murder when they entered the casino and another theory is that Barrera was killed during the commission of a crime -- burglary. Another theory is that Schaefer and the other club members "engaged in a course of conduct" they knew could result in death. Schaefer was charged with second-degree murder for the deaths of his fellow bikers under the course of conduct theory as well. Lippis set a preliminary hearing date of July 25 for Schaefer, although prosecutors have already announced they intend to seek an indictment against him.
Crime Scene: Man wanted in Linwood shooting
SOUTH AUCKLAND - A man wanted by Christchurch police is now believed to be in South Auckland.
Detectives want to speak to Patrick O'Brien in relation to the shooting of a man in Linwood on April 14.
Police believe he was in the Bay of Plenty last month and may now be in South Auckland.
They have a warrant for his arrest for unlawful possession of a pistol and say he should not be approached.
O'Brien, 34, is 183cm tall, of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair.
If you know anything about him, contact your local police station. (yeah sure .......f!@#$ ing idiots..)
A Biker Is Buried in California, and a Turf War Rages On
May 5, 2002 - The New York Times
SANTA MARIA, Calif., May 4 - They say Christian Harvey Tate was a family man - a Christian, as his name implied. They always say good things about a man at his funeral. Mr. Tate, 28, rode with the Hells Angels, but his final ride was alone on Interstate 40. His corpse was found in a ravine by the dark desert highway early last Saturday morning, near his motorcycle, bullets in his back, shell casings nearby. While the police know of no suspects, they surmise that his shooting death was connected to the fatal gunfight that broke out on a casino floor in Laughlin, Nev., that morning, when the Hells Angels came looking for their rivals from Southern California, the Mongols. Three people died in the casino shootout and a dozen were injured during the normally peaceful River Run bike rally, which attracted 80,000. The authorities say the killings were the latest in a bloody war that is raging across the country, Canada and even Europe, as several bike gangs have teamed against the Hells Angels in competition for turf, title and cash. The struggle has killed more than 150 people in the last eight years in Canada, the authorities say, and it turned deadly on Long Island in February, when a brawl between the Angels and one rival gang, the Pagans, left one Pagan dead. Dying in a gun and knife fight is part of the renegade's life, but shooting a man in the back is a naked execution, said some members of the Hells Angels who attended Mr. Tate's funeral on Friday in this town of perpetual strawberries, about 80 miles north of Santa Barbara. Somebody must pay for the murder, these men said, and they are convinced, rightly or wrongly, that it must be the Mongols. "Where it goes from here, I don't know, but you don't let it lie," said a Hells Angel named Rod who said he was present at the casino brawl. "I don't know how you finish something, though, when a bunch of cowards are running and hiding." The authorities expect the violence to escalate. "It's warfare, and we're concerned about retaliation," said Curtis J. Hill, sheriff of San Benito County in central California, home to the Hollister bike rally, held over Independence Day weekend, which commemorates the birth of the outlaw biker movement. "The Hells Angels are the top dogs, and if you're keeping score, if you're counting who lived and who died in Laughlin, then the Hells Angels lost that battle. Is there going to be payback? You tell me." The Mongols' lawyer, Charles T. Mathews, said the members of the club, based in East Los Angeles, were mourning their own man, Anthony Salvador Barrera, 43, who was fatally stabbed in the heart in Laughlin when the Hells Angels swarmed Harrah's Casino and Hotel, where the Mongols were staying, and started shooting. He said the Mongols would not seek retribution. "There will be no raid against the Hells Angels," Mr. Mathews said, sitting in his Pasadena office wearing shorts and golf shoes. "But if the Hells Angels start it, fine. The Mongols will do their best to finish it. We will defend ourselves, but we're not looking for trouble." George Christie Jr., the leader of the Hells Angels, said of the Mongols, "They know how to get hold of me if they want to talk." The underworld influence of the Hells Angels was weakened in the mid-80's by sting operations that put much of the club's leadership behind bars. But they have recently regrouped and are expanding rapidly, doubling their membership to about 2,000 men over the past decade, law enforcement officials say. In response, the major biker outfits - the Pagans and Outlaws in the east, the Bandidos in Texas, the Mongols in California and smaller affiliated groups - have banded together and are striking out. "We're seeing a consolidation as a matter of survival," said Capt. Louis G. Barberia of the New York State Police. "The Angels are flexing their muscles. They're back in town, so to speak. These other groups are working together against them. You're either an Angel now, or against them." Defending the turf has to do not just with bikers confirming their manhood but also with the notion that to the victors go the spoils. According to the authorities, biker clubs run their criminal enterprises much as neighborhood gangsters do: shaking down strip clubs and tattoo parlors, dealing in stolen motorcycles and peddling drugs. Each member of a club manages his own schemes. Authorities say that when more than 30 Pagans were arrested on Long Island in 1998 on racketeering and other charges, it left a power vacuum. The Hells Angels moved in and claimed the Pagans' turf and rackets. In retaliation, the Pagans ambushed a Hells Angels gathering on Long Island in February. Hundreds of weapons were found; 73 people were arrested and 10 were injured. For all their planning, the Pagans watched as one of their men was carted off in a coroner's van. Two weeks later, a tattoo parlor in South Philadelphia owned by a Pagan was firebombed. In Revere, Mass., 23 heavily armed Outlaws were arrested outside a club where Hells Angels had gathered. In Montreal, an eight-year turf war between the Hells Angels and rival clubs including the Bandidos, Outlaws and Rock Machine has taken more than 150 lives, including those of 20 bystanders. In 1996, two imaginative Bandidos attacked a Hells Angels clubhouse in Denmark with rocket-propelled grenades stolen from the Swedish Army. A Bandidos leader was injured when he received a grenade under his bed in return. The Hells Angels have a special hatred for the Mongols, and relations have grown steadily worse over the past year. The Mongols were founded in the early 70's in East Los Angeles, a primarily Chicano gang known for its brashness and for recruiting men from street gangs and prisons. From the beginning, the Mongols rubbed the Angels' noses in dirt. They drove around the streets of Los Angeles in the Hells Angels colors, red and white. Two men died in the fighting that resulted. In the late 80's there was open war in San Diego, said Mr. Mathews, the Mongols' lawyer, with shootings, stabbings and homicide. There was relative calm until two years ago, around the time federal agents infiltrated the Mongols and sent more than 20 men to prison for possession of firearms, cocaine and methamphetamine. This did not stop the Mongols from pushing into Northern California - Hells Angels territory - and the Angels pushed back, slapping Mongols around when they found them alone. There was a stabbing last year, a drive-by shooting, small and persistent incidents that came to a head in Laughlin. "I think the Hells Angels were looking to make a statement after getting beaten around in Long Island," Mr. Mathews said. "But our guys are 40 and 50 years old. As a class they're too old for this stuff. I told them to lay low." Around the streets of East Los Angeles, the Mongols' haunts were quiet and empty the other evening; it seemed the men had taken their counselor's advice and stayed home with their grandchildren. Nevertheless, at Mr. Tate's funeral in Santa Maria, police officers from across the region ringed the cemetery - for the protection of the Hells Angels, they said. It was a classic scene: the police on bikes and the renegades on bikes, separated by the boulevard, staring at each other through spyglasses. Later in the evening, a wake was held down the coastal highway at the Hells Angels clubhouse in Ventura. Soon there was a fire blazing in a pit, the crack of pool balls and laughter. There were some toasts in memory of Mr. Tate. "People think this is a Hollywood movie," said one man guarding the front door. "This ain't a Hollywood movie. This is real life."
Alleged murderer remanded
A bikie (fuck
I hate that term....)who allegedly murdered a
Parafield Gardens couple has been refused bail in the Supreme
Garry John Collie, 42, and a woman, 31, are charged with the murder of Leila ``Lee'' Hoppo, 45, and John Powers, 57 who were found shot dead in their home in January.Collie, a member of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club, applied for bail in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in March. Justice Tom Gray yesterday rejected Collie's appeal against the decision. Collie has been remanded to reappear in court this month.
Tauranga house raided for
Police yesterday raided a Tauranga
house in their hunt for a Highway 61 member sought after a near
fatal shooting in Christchurch 17 days ago.
Sergeant Derek Shaw said Police had a tip-off from the public overnight that gang member Patrick Francis O'Brien as in the Tauranga house. "We executed a search warrant and entered the house at 6am today. O'Brien was not in the house but had been there," said Shaw.
It is understood O'Brien slipped away from the house just before Police arrived and sought refuge in another "safe" house.
Bay of Plenty Detectives were talking to people in the Tauranga house yesterday and seeking further clues to O'Brien's whereabouts.
Yesterdays events were the closest police have got to his trail since the April 14 shooting in Aldwins Road, southeast Christchurch.
They have issued a warrant for O'Brien's arrest in relation to the shooting, which is being treated as an attempted murder.
Police have expressed concern about public safety while O'Brien remained on the loose.
They said O'Brien and the victim, who was shot in the stomach with a high calibre pistol, were members of Highway 61.
The victim discharged himself last week.
O'Brien was jailed for 14 months in October last year after admitting wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening witnesses in Max Shannon murder case.
Mr. Shannon, a Black Power gang member, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in August, 2000.
Three men were later found guilty of murder and jailed for life.
O'Brien had been in custody since May last year and was out on parole at the time of the shooting
Gypsy Jokers leader in court via video
May 03, 2002 - Australia
The national head of the Gypsy Jokers MC appeared briefly in a Perth court today charged with possessing cocaine and amphetamines worth about $3 million. Lennard Mark Kirby, 40, appeared in the Perth magistrate's court via video link from Hakea prison in suburban Canning Vale, where he has been remanded in custody since his arrest. Kirby was arrested after a raid on his rural property at Oakford 40km south-east of Perth, on December 11. He also faces charges of delivering and disposing of firearms and ammunition without a license. In court today, Magistrate Paul Heaney ordered that Kirby reappear in person on May 10
Videotape reveals mayhem in casino brawl
May 2, 2002 - Las Vegas
Numerous acts of violence could be discerned Wednesday as prosecutors played chilling security videotape showing the deadly weekend riot at Harrah's Laughlin. The footage showed a sea of burly men battling with guns, knives and other weapons during the melee in which at least three people were killed. One man could be seen repeatedly pummeling an opponent in the head with what appeared to be a wrench. Authorities played the tape during the first court appearance of Calvin Schaefer, a 32-year-old member of the Hells Angels who is the only suspect charged in the incident. Authorities contend the videotape showed Schaefer firing a gun 11 times. Defense attorney David Chesnoff told a judge his client was responding to attacks by the Mongols. "Just because you are a Hells Angel doesn't mean you can't defend yourself," Chesnoff said. Authorities acknowledged they have no evidence that showed a bullet fired by Schaefer struck anyone. Homicide Detective Phil Ramos said that two of the three confirmed slaying victims suffered gunshot wounds and that both of those men were members of Schaefer's group, the Hells Angels. A third victim was a Mongol, and he died from a stab wound, Ramos said. Ballistics tests on firearms evidence recovered from the crime scene are pending, Ramos said. But even if those tests or other physical evidence do not directly identify Schaefer as the triggerman in the shootings, prosecutors said they still will pursue a murder charge against him. Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Bloxham said that under Nevada law, if someone joins with others to commit a crime and a slaying results, they can be charged with murder. "They are just as guilty as a person who pulls the trigger," the prosecutor said. Bloxham said a second-degree murder charge could be pursued in the case if evidence suggested someone "engaged in a course of conduct that results in the taking of a life." "That's murder," Bloxham said. During the hearing, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis set Schaefer's bail at $250,000. Chesnoff had sought $75,000 bail, but the judge said she was shocked more individuals did not die, given the mayhem inside the casino. "If he does make bail, I want to know where the money's coming from," Lippis told Chesnoff. Schaefer sat quietly. At the end of the hearing, the clean-cut man with long black hair and goatee got teary-eyed while his attorneys appeared to be offering words of support. At least 70 motorcycle club members, many armed with auto tools, pipes and firearms, were involved in the Saturday morning fight. Those who died in the riot have been identified as Robert Emmet Tumelty, 50, of Stockton, Calif.; Jeramie Dean Bell, 27, of Hughson, Calif.; and Anthony Salvador Barrera, 43, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Authorities are investigating whether the killing of another motorcyclist, Hells Angels member Christian H. Tate of San Diego, played a role in the riot. Tate was found shot to death in San Bernardino, Calif., shortly after the Laughlin melee. But authorities think he was killed about 45 minutes before that fight. Ramos said Wednesday that police had intelligence to suggest the Mongols and the Hells Angels might clash at the Laughlin River Run. The event attracts motorcycle enthusiasts from across the Southwest to the casino town, about 80 miles south of Las Vegas. "The Mongols were there to pound their chest," Ramos said. Ramos said the Mongol members in the past have stayed at Harrah's Laughlin for the River Run, as they did this year. The Hells Angels were staying this year at the Flamingo Hilton. Ramos said that in the minutes before the fight, a Metropolitan Police officer was in front of Harrah's when he saw Hells Angels members drive up and storm the casino. They left their bikes behind, the keys still in the ignitions. "They all run inside the casino, and this caused him concern," Ramos said. "Now he's got 30 or so (Hells Angels) ... running into a hotel occupied by a rival motorcycle club." The two groups were shown on the tape congregating near a casino bar. "(Witnesses) saw various weapons come out of pockets, sleeves," Ramos said. "Automobile wrenches ... Mag flashlights, knives are being pulled out." Ramos said two leaders of the groups were pictured on the videotape, presumably trying to calm the groups down. But within moments, a Hells Angel was seen throwing a punch at a Mongol. "All hell breaks loose after that," Ramos said. The tape showed the men brawling and attacking each other with weapons. A man authorities said was Schaefer was shown hitting others with some sort of tool. That same man then was shown with a handgun, firing several shots as men presumed to be Mongols passed by. Another part of the tape showed a large, unidentified biker wearing a metal helmet. While simultaneously helping an elderly casino employee hide from the carnage by pushing him behind a chair, the biker brandished what appeared to be a wrench. He then started bashing another biker repeatedly in the head. Ramos said the death toll from the Laughlin fight might be more than three. The detective said law enforcement in Southern California has gathered intelligence information suggesting some involved in the fight suffered grave wounds, then fled the casino and died elsewhere. "Some of these individuals hurt in the fight chose not to seek medical attention," Ramos said of the contents of the unconfirmed intelligence report. "They were injured seriously enough that ... they did not survive," Ramos said. Ramos said no other bodies have been found so far, but they could be found somewhere "alongside the road." Ramos said police found some motorcycle jackets at the scene that were riddled with bullet holes. Ramos said several knives and a handful of firearms were recovered at the scene. During an impassioned argument, Chesnoff told Lippis that Schaefer is far from a killer. He said the sheet metal worker from Chandler, Ariz., has never been arrested in his life. Even if his client were the man seen firing a gun on the videotape, he was acting in self-defense, Chesnoff said. He said that the two men who were shot to death were members of the Hells Angels, as is Schaefer. "He didn't shoot his own guys," Chesnoff said outside court. Ramos said the scope of the investigation is big because of the number of individuals involved in the fight. Six Las Vegas detectives have been assigned to the case, and there may be some 200 witnesses to the incident. Schaefer is scheduled to appear May 9 in Laughlin Justice Court
Metro met with clubs before casino shootout
May 2, 2002 -
Nevada LAS VEGAS SUN
|Could Hells Angels be coming to N.J.?
May 01, 2002 - New Jersey
Law enforcement authorities are bracing for a possible Hells Angels chapter settling in the state after spotting jacket patches with a "New Jersey'' insignia and the infamous motorcycle club's colors. For more than 20 years, New Jersey has been considered the province of the Pagans motorcycle club. The entry of Hell's Angels could portend trouble, experts said Tuesday. "I think it would be a problem if this claim over territory continues and these two get together,'' said Detective Sgt. Tom Alexander of the state police street gang unit. "That's not going to go over too well.'' Conflict between the two outlaw clubs resulted in a March melee that left one man dead and at least 10 others injured at a "Hellraisers Ball'' sponsored by the Hells Angels on Long Island. No sooner had experts talked of a
Authorities Check on Gang Slaying
April 29, 2002 -
Authorities said Monday that they were trying to determine whether the slaying of a Hells Angel member on a California highway was linked to a deadly fight at a Nevada casino. Christian Tate, 28, was found dead near his wrecked Harley-Davidson motorcycle about 3 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 40 near Ludlow, Calif., San Bernardino County sheriff's spokesman Chip Patterson said. ``The evidence at the scene is that he was in motion when he was shot and the bike went off the shoulder,'' Patterson said, adding that investigators have found no witnesses to the slaying. At about 2 a.m. Saturday, three California motorcycle gang members were killed at Harrah's Laughlin Casino & Hotel during an annual biker rally that brought some 80,000 bikers to southern Nevada. Police said they were piecing together videotape, ballistic and blood evidence trying to determine what turned a simmering rivalry between the Hells Angels and the Mongols into the deadliest shooting ever in a Nevada casino. Authorities said more than 100 gang members were in the hotel and dozens fought. Twelve people were hospitalized. Homicide Lt. Tom Monahan said at least five casino cameras recorded parts of the two-minute melee, ``but being able to identify a face on video doesn't necessarily mean we have a name and our cast of characters.'' Calvin Schaefer, 32, who is affiliated with the Hells Angels, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Tate's body was found 115 miles west of Laughlin. Authorities said he had been riding west, away from Laughlin, when he was shot multiple times. Monahan said detectives aren't sure Tate's slaying was related to the casino melee. ``However, the timing at the very least is coincidental,'' he said. Clark County officials identified the three dead men as Robert Tumelty, 50; Jeramie Bell, 27; and Anthony Barrera, 43. Las Vegas police Lt. Vince Cannito said the investigation was slowed because most of those involved left Sunday when the 20th annual Laughlin River Run ended.
|Witnesses describe wild scene
April 30, 2002 -
were warned gathering could turn violent
30, 2002 - Nevada
Biker Charged in Shootings at
Crime: Police in Nevada say a hotel surveillance tape shows a man affiliated with the Hells Angels killing a member of the rival Mongols.
CHARLES ORNSTEIN and DAREN BRISCOE, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- As motorcycle enthusiasts rode out of town Sunday, a 33-year-old affiliate of the Hells Angels bike gang faced a murder charge related to the shooting deaths of three bikers at the Laughlin River Run.
Las Vegas police would not release details on the jailed suspect, Calvin Brett Schaefer. A jail clerk said he was being held on a charge of murder with a deadly weapon with intent to promote/assist a criminal gang. A person answering the phone at Schaefer's residence in Chandler, Ariz., declined to comment.
Lt. Vincent Cannito said about 500 people were detained for questioning after the shooting early Saturday, and others were arrested on minor unrelated charges. Dozens of motorcycles were confiscated, as well as guns, knives, hammers and other weapons. Motorcycle gang experts said the shootout is the latest in an increasingly violent power struggle among biker gangs.
Hotel surveillance tapes reviewed by police show the deadly chain of events at Harrah's Casino & Hotel about 2:15 a.m. Saturday.
At first, several members of the Hells Angels gang surrounded two members of the rival Mongols. A fistfight broke out and quickly escalated. The tape then shows one of the Mongols being shot.
"One of the Hells Angels guys pulls out a gun and pops him in the head, and after that, it's just pandemonium," said Sgt. Chuck Jones of the Las Vegas Police Department. The department has jurisdiction over the casino town, 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
At least 12 people were taken to hospitals, mostly for gunshot or knife wounds.
Neither the Clark County coroner nor police would release the names of the three dead.
Separately, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said investigators still do not know whether the melee was related to the death of a 28-year-old San Diego man found on Interstate 40, the artery linking Southern California and Laughlin. Police said Christian Tate was probably shot as he rode his motorcycle. His bike and some shell casings were found.
Tate's aunt, Cindi Tate Cirone, said her nephew loved motorcycles and had been in the Coast Guard. She said her family is in shock and has heard little about what happened or why.
Similar gang shootouts have been occurring across the nation in increasing numbers this year.
In February, police arrested 23 members of the Outlaw gang outside a club in Revere, Mass., where they were heavily armed and ready for battle with Hells Angels.
The same month, 73 members of the Pagan Motorcycle Club were arrested and charged with federal racketeering in New York after a fight at a motorcycle and tattoo expo sponsored by the Hells Angels on Long Island. A member of the Hells Angels from New York was charged with the killing of a Pagan. Five other gang members were shot, five were stabbed and two suffered heart attacks during the melee.
Lt. Terry Katz, a gang expert with the Maryland State Police, said motorcycle gangs are growing and encroaching on each other's turf. "Too many people, too much territory. Something's going to pop," he said.
Charles T. Mathews, a Pasadena lawyer who has represented Mongol bikers, said he doubts the group provoked the Laughlin fight. The group has tamed its ways since May 2000, when federal agents arrested at least 42 members in Southern California and seized dozens of illegal guns, cocaine and stolen motorcycles.
"The Hells Angels have had several instances in which they have gone out of their way to cause trouble or start problems with the Mongols," Mathews said. "I know for a fact that the Mongols have tried very, very hard since the series of busts . . . to stay out of trouble."
Hells Angels leader George Christie Jr. could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, bikers attending the River Run said they are not afraid to return next year. The four-day event, in its 20th year, is one of the nation's largest motorcycle festivals, drawing as many as 80,000 visitors.
A steady stream of riders gathered Sunday at the Texaco station on the edge of town, filling up on gas for their journeys home.
Rob Dix, who drove 600 miles from Grand Junction, Colo., said bike clubs typically don't let tension escalate at large rallies. "It does reflect badly on us," said Dix, who said he's not affiliated with any of the clubs. "Most people are just like me. They weren't involved in it. They didn't do it."
"We'll be back next year," said Robert Torres of Torrance.
His brother, Lorenzo, added: "Harrah's just has to keep it a little bit more secure next time."
Others left with more negative feelings. Mark Scheidecker of Albuquerque said he was handcuffed and held in a banquet room with members of the Hells Angels because he was outside of Harrah's after the melee. Scheidecker said he is not a gang member.
"I'm not coming back--ever," he said.
Don Laughlin, the town's namesake who owns a hotel there, said he doesn't think the River Run should be canceled because of the violence.
"It's just a matter of keeping the gangs out of town," he said. ". . . Just because you get two bad groups, you don't shut down the town."
In fact, Laughlin said the altercation may increase knowledge of the town, home to nine casinos and about 11,000 hotel rooms.
Since the incident, he has received calls from associates as far away as Mongolia and Ireland asking about events.
"Everybody in the world knows where Laughlin is now," said Laughlin, who has done business there for 36 years. "They always say any kind of news is good news. It's very unfortunate that someone had to get hurt and killed over it."
Motorcyclists drive by a worker cleaning up in Laughlin on Sunday after a clash between gangs left three people dead.
LAUGHLIN, Nevada (CNN) -- A member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang will be charged with murder following the weekend gunfight in a Nevada casino that left three men dead and 15 wounded, police said Sunday.
Kelvin Schaffer, 33, was among more than 200 people detained after the incident early Saturday, but the only one still in police custody a day later, said Lt. Vincent Cannito of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The department provides law enforcement in Clark County, where the shooting took place.
Schaffer was among 50,000 to 80,000 motorcycle enthusiasts who descended on Laughlin, a town of 8,000 located 80 miles southeast of Las Vegas, for the 20th annual "River Run."
Investigators are poring over videotapes from surveillance cameras in the Harrah's casino, trying to determined what provoked the gunfight and whether anyone else may have been responsible.
About 200 law enforcement officers, plus the regular police force in Laughlin, had been on duty for the event. Authorities arrived at the scene less than two minutes after shots were first fired.
Police in California were investigating the death of another biker, who was shot to death alongside Interstate 40 near the town of Ludlow, about 90 miles west of Laughlin. The victim was believed to be a 29-year-old motorcycle club member from San Diego, California.
The motorcyclist appeared to have been shot while riding westbound, away from Nevada, said Chris Patterson, a spokesman for the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. Cannito said Sunday that Nevada law enforcement was "still working with the California authorities to determine if there was a correlation" between the incident and the Laughlin gunfight.
Five of the 15 people wounded in the gunfight remained at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas on Sunday, a hospital spokesman said. One was in critical condition, three were in serious condition and one victim was in fair condition, all with gunshot or stab wounds.
Four others -- three with gunshot wounds and one complaining of chest pains -- were at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in nearby Bullhead City. Six, including a man with a skull injury and a stabbing victim, have been treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The incident happened just after 2 a.m. Saturday, when a member of the Mongols motorcycle gang wandered into a group of rival Hells Angels, Cannito said. A fight broke out that escalated into gunfire.
Afterward, Nevada officials sealed off Laughlin while they searched for anyone connected with the brawl, said Larry Tunforss, a fire department spokesman from nearby Bullhead City, Arizona. The restrictions were lifted a few hours later.
The 1,700-room casino hotel was fully booked for the River Run event, said Laura de la Cruz, director of marketing for the hotel.
The event usually goes off "without a hitch," Cannito said, but outlaw gang members provoked violence this year.
"It's the 1 percent fringe society members that don't want to be part of society," he said.
NOTE: following article is an unsubstantiated report from 'Outsiders" message board...
9:00PM--According to a Hell's Angels
spokesperson a Mongol gang member walked into Harrah's and sought
out one of the leaders of the Hell's Angels. The Mongol member
without warning, shot the Hell's Angel leader in the back of the
head. Four other Hell's Angels, brandishing Uzi type automatic
weapons, then open fired in retaliation, killing the shooter and
wounding other Mongol gang members. The third victim's gang
affiliation remains unknown. This is an unsubstantiated story,
but believed to be accurate.
LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- An escalating turf
battle between rival motorcycle gangs erupted into a shootout at
a casino Saturday morning, killing three people, sending
panic-stricken gamblers diving for cover and shutting down the
Mojave Desert town for several hours.
The melee of gunfire, stabbings and fistfights broke out about 2:15 a.m. at Harrah's Casino & Hotel as the town was packed with 80,000 visitors attending an annual bikers' party called the Laughlin River Run.
At least 16 people were injured in the casino, police said, and the body of a fourth man was later found on Interstate 40 in San Bernardino County, where he had ridden on his motorcycle.
At least one man was arrested and 100 others were detained for questioning after the shootout, which prompted the temporary closure of highways and a bridge leading out of town. By nightfall Saturday, the riverfront gambling town was virtually back in business.
"We saw a bunch of people fighting, then all of a sudden we heard gunshots--bang, bang, bang," said Aniko Kegyulics, 25, who was near the casino bar when the chaos began. "Everybody fell to the floor."
Police said the casino battle culminated a nearly 18-month feud between the Hells Angels and Mongol motorcycle gangs, which had been fighting over territory and membership.
Scores of police were brought in from California and Arizona to patrol the town, and remained in force overnight because of fears of more trouble. "There are threats of retaliation," said Larry Tunforss, a spokesman for the Bullhead City Fire Department in Arizona. "We're getting prepared."
The casino confrontation began when a group of about 30 Hells Angels members rode from the Flamingo Hotel to Harrah's, looking for members of the Mongol gang, said Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Chris Darcy.
A few members of the gangs faced off, quickly drawing a crowd as the confrontation escalated into a larger fight. "The knives came out and then the guns came out and people started shooting," Darcy said.
Within minutes, more than a dozen people had been stabbed or shot, Darcy said. None of the injured are believed to be tourists or hotel employees. Hotel surveillance cameras videotaped the fight.
"It's an unbelievable video," Darcy said. "It's horrific."
Javier Corzo, 37, said he was playing slot machines when the fight began.
"All of a sudden, a wave of people came running through the bar area," he said. "I heard gunfire--a whole bunch of shots. Everybody just hit the floor."
Corzo said he saw several people pull out guns and two people get hit by the gunfire.
His friend, Rick Edwards, said hotel guests scattered when the fight began, running up stairs and hopping onto elevators.
"I'm sure the cops had a hard time finding whoever was involved," he said, adding that he couldn't get to his room and spent most of the night in a hotel stairwell.
Police and fire personnel stormed into the hotel lobby shortly after the shooting and ordered people to the ground. John Barrett, a battalion commander for the Bullhead City Fire Department, said at least 100 people were handcuffed or lying spread eagle on the floor.
Barrett said that when he arrived, there were several weapons, including knives and guns, scattered on the ground.
The injured suffered gunshot and stab wounds, and one man had a skull fracture. Most were in stable or fair condition, but at least one man was in critical condition, hospital officials said. Two men who were shot are believed to be suspects, Tunforss said.
Less than an hour after the bloodshed in Laughlin, a 29-year-old biker gang member was shot as he rode his motorcycle near the town of Ludlow, said Chip Patterson, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
He said the death is "likely connected in some way to the shooting in Laughlin."
"We think he was shot as he rode," Patterson said. The man and his bike ended up on the shoulder, and CHP officers found shell casings along the road.
The Mongols and Hells Angels had clashed in other areas recently.
San Benito County Sheriff Curtis J. Hill said the two gangs have been positioning for who is going to control certain areas of the West.
"For the last 18 months, there has been tremendous friction between these two groups--not only in California but nationwide," he said. "The violence overflowed into Laughlin and the River Run event."
After the shootout, Harrah's shut down the hotel and casino. The hotel reopened mid-morning and part of the casino reopened later in the day. But detectives were still sorting through evidence in a taped-off portion of the casino late Saturday.
The hotel, a Mexican-themed resort with 1,601 rooms, offered counseling to employees and guests, and set up a hotline for updates.
"We are deeply disturbed that this tragic event has occurred at Harrah's Laughlin," said Bill Keena, senior vice president and general manager. "As always, our primary concern is for the safety and welfare of our customers and employees."
Throughout the day, police towed dozens of bikes from Harrah's parking lot.
By early evening, Harrah's was again bustling with gamblers. People were pulling slots just 15 yards from where detectives marked bullet casings and worked behind crime tape.
Laughlin, located 90 miles south of Las Vegas along the Colorado River where California, Nevada and Arizona meet, is a booming gaming town. Many of its 8,000 residents work as bartenders, cashiers and dealers in the town's 11 casinos.
Laughlin has become a destination for Californians looking for a weekend getaway. Its popularity has helped Laughlin pass the Reno-Tahoe area as the second-largest generator of revenue in Nevada, according to 1998 statistics.
Each year, bikers roar into town for the Laughlin River Run, boosting revenues of hotels, shops and restaurants.
The four-day event, which began with just 500 riders, has become so mainstream that the Laughlin Area Chamber of Commerce promotes it on its Web site. This year, among the scheduled events were concerts with the Doobie Brothers and Grand Funk Railroad, and a custom bike show offering $4,000 worth of prizes.
"Some problems are unavoidable when 50,000 people congregate," said Joelle Hurns, the chamber's executive director. "You're always going to have an element that is undesirable."
Ralph Cuomo, 66, believes the violence will not dampen local enthusiasm for the River Run.
"They are not going to cancel. The locals all work in the casinos. What are they going to say?" Cuomo said. "We need the people."
Sonny Ald, who works at D'Angelo's Italian Restaurant in the River Palms casino, said the shooting has not deterred visitors who packed the streets of Laughlin on Saturday afternoon, causing a traffic jam.
"People are still coming in from California and Colorado," he said.
"They can't close down Laughlin," Ald said. "The casinos are still open."
click photo for video......
At least three people are dead and 8 injured in a wild brawl early Saturday between rival motorcycle gangs attending the Laughlin River Run.
Police say 60 to 70 people were involved in the melee on the Harrah's casino floor.
Police put Laughlin in a lockdown Saturday morning as they questioned hundreds of people.
Metro had taken over entire ballrooms of Laughlin hotels to conduct the investigation. One person has been arrested.
Metro says the fight erupted on the Harrah's casino floor at 2:15 am between members of the Hell's Angels and Mongrels motorcycle gangs.
Police agencies from Metro, Laughlin, Bullhead City, and California have all responded.
Police are also investigating the death of a biker on Interstate 40 and police say the death may be connected to the morning battle.
Up to 70,000 motorcycle enthusiasts were expected to converge on Laughlin this weekend for the 20th annual River Run.
But Friday, tragedy marred the opening
day. Two off-duty Las Vegas-area paramedics were killed on the
way to the River Run when a motorist drifted into their lane on
KVVU FOX5 reporter Heidi Hayes said that fighting erupted between motorcycle gangs at Harrah's Casino in Laughlin early today. Police confirm three people are dead. There are nine more injured. More than a hundred people are in custody. Bridges over the Colorado River were shut down to traffic.
The shooting occurred on the first floor of Harrah's during the 20th annual River Run, a large gathering of motorcycle clubs that brought 80-thousand people into the gambling resort this weekend.
Larry Tunforss, a spokesman for the Bullhead City, Arizona Fire Department said the city of Laughlin was in a semi-state of "lockdown."
Harrah's director of marketing, Laura De La Cruz, said the altercation between rival motorcycle gang members erupted shortly after two this morning.
At Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, nine male patients, some with gunshot wounds, some with knife stab wounds were being treated. Four men with gunshot or stab wounds were flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where a nursing supervisor said she expected two more victims.
Laughlin is located 80 miles southeast of Las Vegas, near the Arizona border.
Nevada (CNN) -- Rival motorcycle gangs clashed in
a southern Nevada casino early Saturday, leaving three
people dead, 11 wounded and prompting authorities to lock
down the entire town for a short time, authorities said.
Bullhead City (Arizona) Fire Department spokesman Larry Tunforss said Nevada officials were again allowing people in and out of Laughlin, Nevada, after sealing off the town to search for anyone connected with a brawl that broke out at Harrah's Laughlin Casino.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police revised the death toll down from four to three late Saturday morning -- without explanation -- and said that one suspect was in custody.
"Numerous others are being questioned in this intensive investigation," the police statement said. "Sixty to 70 participants are believed to be members of rival motorcycle gangs."
Two men identified as shooters were among the wounded, according to Tunforss. Bullhead City, just across the Colorado River from Laughlin -- about 80 miles south of Las Vegas -- responded first to the incident.
The three killed were all men, Tunforss said, and none was an employee of the casino.
The fight took place at 2:13 a.m. (5:13 a.m EDT). Davidson said members of Hell's Angels were involved, along with members of a second motorcycle group whose identity had not been confirmed.
Tunforss said Laughlin is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the "River Run," which annually draws 50,000 to 80,000 motorcycle enthusiasts, including Hell's Angels.
"The majority of them come here to have a good time," he said. "Unfortunately, when you get that many people, we're going to get the criminal element too."
Laughlin was shut down while investigators looked for more suspects, Davidson said. Only security personnel with authorized identification were allowed in or out of the town, and all the city's casinos were closed.
By midmorning, Tunforss said, only Harrah's remained closed.
Las Vegas police SWAT teams were in the Harrah's hotel searching room-to-room for anyone else who may be connected with the shootings, he said.
Tunforss said five of the 11 people who were wounded were airlifted to Las Vegas for treatment. Of the remaining six, one was in surgery and another was in the intensive care at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City. The other four were being evaluated.
Davidson said one of the wounded suspects was a member of Hell's Angels.
Harrah's operates 21 casinos in 17 markets under the Harrah's, Rio, and Showboat brand names. The Mexican resort-themed Harrah's Laughlin Casino and Hotel opened in 1988.
victim out of hospital
26 April 2002
The victim of a gang shooting which police are treating as attempted murder is out of hospital and back home, police said today.
The victim was shot in the stomach by a fellow Highway 61 gang member on Aldwins Rd in southeast Christchurch 12 days ago.
Operation Aldwins inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Tarawhiti said there were concerns for public safety.
"We are talking about a person already prepared to take the law into his own hands. We have found no trace of the offender yet and we have not recovered the high calibre pistol used in the shooting.
"He used the firearm before and there is nothing to suggest he won't use it again," he said today.
Police said the company the offender kept was not overly sympathetic to the police cause.
They have issued a warrant for the arrest of Patrick Francis O'Brien, 34, in connection with the April 14 shooting.
O'Brien was jailed for 14 months in October last year after admitting wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening witnesses in the Max Shannon murder case.
Mr Shannon, a Black Power gang member, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in August, 2000. Three men were later found guilty of murder and jailed for life.
O'Brien had been in custody since May last year and was out on parole at the time of the shooting.
The shooting was a result of a dispute over the hierarchy set-up of the Highway 61 gang in Christchurch, Mr Tarawhiti said.
old news article from Japan...seeing there aint anything more interesting happening....which is good..
|Biker revelers spawn scores of arrests
80 biker gang members were apprehended in the early hours
of Tuesday as part of a massive crackdown aimed at
stamping out the traditional New Year nuisance on
expressways around the capital, police said.
Most of the 81 people picked up were collared for driving without a license, illegally reworking cars or hiding license plates.
Over 5,600 Metropolitan Police Department officers were mobilized to counter biker gangs taking over expressways around Tokyo.
It has become customary in recent years for biker gangs made up of hundreds of cars and motorcycles to travel slowly along expressways and impede traffic. They usually gather at expressway tollbooths, breaking through them frequently, and deliberately attack the police as part of their New Year "celebrations."
This year, however, the bikers were subdued. Police said there were only 161 vehicles making up the main gang on the Chuo Expressway, 194 fewer than last year. Most of the drivers maintained road laws. There were no attempts at blocking traffic and nobody tried to break through a tollbooth without paying.
Police set up checkpoints at tollbooths along the Chuo Expressway, manning them throughout the night. (Mainichi Shimbun, Jan.2002 1, 2002)
South Australian concern over clubhouses
April 23, 2002 - Australia
Biker clubhouses will be outlawed from the suburbs under a State Government plan to insert a "character clause" in planning laws. The laws an Australian first would empower councils to refuse biker clubs permission to build headquarters in suburban areas, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said yesterday. Under the legislation, any outlaw gang involved in illegal activities would come under a legal definition of bad character. A special clause banning building approval to those of bad character would enable councils to reject applications. Councils at present must accept all valid building applications, irrespective of the applicants' character. At least four biker headquarters have been established in Adelaide, including the Hells Angels at Mansfield Park, the Bandidos at Osborne, the Gypsy Jokers at Wingfield and the Rebels in the city. "Under planning laws we can't make a distinction between social clubs or outlaw biker fortresses," Mr Atkinson said. "We want to take into account the fact they are biker gangs operating outside the law. "The laws will allow us to demolish headquarters erected unlawfully." However, the laws will not apply retrospectively. Mr Atkinson is negotiating with Urban Planning and Development Minister Jay Weatherill, SA Police and local government representatives over the technicalities of the law. The new laws will be introduced this year. In January last year Charles Sturt Council granted planning approval for the Rebels to build club headquarters in Brompton. Charles Sturt Mayor Harold Anderson said yesterday that he "supported what Michael Atkinson is trying to do". "We were very frustrated that we had no option but to approve the Rebels clubhouse, but we were limited to purely planning considerations," he said. Monash University criminologist Arthur Veno said a more collaborative approach was required between police and gangs rather than more laws. John Bennett, president of the Australian Civil Liberties Union, said any character-based laws would be discriminatory unless they applied to all people, not just biker gangs. Opposition police spokesman Robert Brokenshire welcomed the new laws but questioned whether the Government would have the ability to "bulldoze" outlaw headquarters.
Not mentioned by anybody is the possibility that if bikers can be classified as being of "bad character", what other groups might find themselves equally labeled? Such as the Libertarian Party Headquarters, or other group that does not hold to the same ideology opinions. (Outsider)
|Unprecedented bid for jurors'
April 22, 2002 - Australia
Senior police are pushing for unprecedented security measures for jurors in the trial of a biker accused of the car-bomb killing of former CIB chief Don Hancock and his friend, Lou Lewis. Because of the Gypsy Jokers "potential to organize and commit crimes of violence", the police legal services unit has been asked to examine overseas examples of remote juries and jury anonymity. A remote jury would involve jurors being held in a secure location away from the trial courtroom but linked to it by closed-circuit television where they could view the proceedings unseen. It would be an Australian first. "This is going to be a case like no other as far as security issues for jurors and their families," a police insider said. "You can keep the gang's 75 patched members out of the court to stop them eyeballing jurors but what about their myriad associates, some with a criminal past and a willingness to help out? "How could a 55-year-old grandmother sit on that jury and not be concerned if not for herself, then for her grandchildren and any potential threat to them? "If the jurors are going to think they are safe, they need to know that the bikers can't see them or at least don't know their names and other personal details." In the United States, jury anonymity - where neither the prosecution nor the defense know a juror's name, address, occupation or religion - has been in use since the 1980s, mainly in organized crime cases. Its critics have claimed there is a risk that jurors may interpret their anonymity as proof of a defendant's criminal proclivity, which could have an impact on the defendant's presumption of innocence. In WA, there is the infamous case in December 1985 of a convicted murderer who sent signed Christmas cards to the jurors who found him guilty. A New South Wales Law Reform Commission report on the case said the killer got hold of the list of jurors during the appeal process. Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock QC does not support the concept of remote juries. He said there were adequate powers to protect jurors. He also was concerned about jury anonymity. Under the Juries Act, an accused person has the right to challenge a potential juror and because of that is entitled to know a juror's name, address and occupation. "I'm sure if some level of anonymity is required for jurors in a particular case, I'd expect the court would probably be able to accommodate that," he said. Attorney-General Jim McGinty also believes that the courts have considerable powers to protect jurors. "But I'm happy to look at any suggestions for sensible improvements that might be put forward," he said.
Christchurch police hunt man
19.04.2002 3.19 pm
Police say they are worried for the public's safety as they hunt a man following Sunday night's Christchurch gang-related shooting.
Police want to talk to Patrick Francis O'Brien, 34, after a man was shot in the stomach at an Aldwins Road property in central southeast Christchurch on Sunday.
O'Brien was jailed for 14 months in October last year after admitting wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening witnesses in the Max Shannon murder case.
He had been in custody since May last year and was now out on parole. Police said he may still have a firearm and should not be approached.
Inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Tarawhiti said today police were treating the Operations Aldwins investigation as an attempted murder.
Mr Tarawhiti said they were worried that associates may be harbouring O'Brien.
"This is a serious matter of public safety. We are talking about a person already prepared to take the law into his own hands. He must be in Christchurch somewhere.
"We also want to speak to a woman, about the same age, who has close associations with O'Brien. She has intimate knowledge of why the incident occurred."
Shannon, a Black Power gang member, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in August, 2000. Three men were later found guilty of murder and jailed for life.
|Not exactly biker news...but good f!@#$ing job.....the catholic church can kiss my hairy bum, no offence to anyone who needs a physchological crutch....|
|Vatican charged with RICO
April 19, 2002
|Top lawmen under fire for grinning photo
April 18, 2002 - Australia
Fake Licencer sentenced
A VICROADS (Victoria, Australia)manager
who received awards for motorbike safety campaigns while running
a sideline in fake licences for the Outlaws motorcycle gang was yesterday jailed for at least a year.
Raymond John Matthews, 52, helped bikies clear their demerit point-laden licences while he was the manager of Vicroads' Leongatha office.
County Court Judge Frank Shelton said Matthews abused his position in a public office by arranging for up to 30 licences to be issued under false names.
In sentencing Matthews to 2 1/2 years' jail with 18 months of that suspended, Judge Shelton said the former army acting drill sergeant had used his specialised knowledge to exploit the weaknesses of the licence system.
The court heard his customers, mostly members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, came to him with New Zealand licences under other names. He would arrange for them to be converted to Victorian permits.
New Zealand licence holders do not need to sit a driving test if they want a Victorian permit and their licences do not have a photo on them.
Matthews told police he made about $6000 in two years from May 1999, but he was detected after word spread about the scam, the court heard.
Judge Shelton said Matthews' client base was made up of people about to lose their licences for demerit points or other reasons or needed specialist permits, such as for heavy vehicles.
Yesterday, Judge Shelton rejected a submission to impose a non-custodial sentence.
Matthews, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, received awards for motorcycle safety campaigns at the same time he was committing the offences.
The court heard two other men had been charged with deception offences while most of the recipients of the bogus licences were convicted and fined $1500.
conviction appeal rejected
17 April 2002
Christchurch Highway 61 gang leader Matthew Bernard Grant has lost an appeal against his conviction for murdering gang rival Max Shannon.
The Court of Appeal in Wellington dismissed the appeal yesterday and another challenging the 14 years' jail Grant has to serve before being considered for parole.
Grant, 37, was convicted with three others of the Black Power gang member's murder.
Shannon was killed in a drive-by shooting in Christchurch in August 2000.
Most of the grounds of Grant's conviction appeal were based on claimed failures in the way his trial lawyer defended during his High Court trial.
gang link to shooting
16 April 2002
A man shot in the stomach during a confrontation in Christchurch remained in a serious, but stable condition in hospital last night, as police probe the possibility of gang involvement.
The man, believed to be in his mid-thirties, had surgery on Sunday night after being found injured at an Aldwins Rd property southeast of the central city after emergency services were called at 8.40pm.
Police said the shooting victim knew a resident at the property.
Witnesses earlier reported seeing the man running along the footpath, bent over, and clutching his stomach.
Head of the police inquiry, Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Tarawhiti, said investigations were still at an early stage and hoped to speak to the victim last night or today.
"We are unsure where he was shot and who was present, but we are making inquiries focused on establishing this at present," Mr Tarawhiti said.
One media report suggested the shooting had links with a Christchurch gang. Mr Tarawhiti said police could not confirm it was a gang-related incident, but that was one of the scenarios being considered.
"The nature of this type of investigation limits what can be said at this time," he said.
Police are seeking information from the public.
About 15 police staff are involved in the inquiry.
Gang-related shooting wounds
man in Christchurch
15.04.2002 8.31 am
A man was shot in the stomach in what police describe as a gang incident in Christchurch last night.
The man was shot at an Aldwins Road property southeast of the central city. He is in a serious condition in Christchurch Hospital.
He was seen by neighbours bent over clutching his stomach while a red stationwagon fled the scene.
Police cordoned off the area and the injured man was rushed to hospital.
Detective Sergeant John Rae said today the shooting had links to the Highway 61 gang.
"We are not saying any further at this stage but we know a man was shot in the abdomen late last night.
"He was taken to hospital for an operation. His condition is serious but it is not believed to be life-threatening," he told NZPA.
Mr Rae said police did not have a clear description of the gunman.
The incident was the third shooting in Canterbury at the weekend after shots were fired in the Christchurch Cathedral Square and a Geraldine man was shot four times in the upper legs on Saturday.
Gang's drug profits in state coffers
By MATHEW DEARNALEY
More than $600,000 of a South Auckland gang's drug-dealing profits have finally been signed into the Government's coffers, three years after being seized in police raids.
Justice Minister Phil Goff has signed an authorisation for cash and assets seized from members of the Tribesmen to go into the Government's consolidated fund.
This follows a complex web of legal procedures overseen by the Official Assignee's office in the Ministry of Economic Development, after five men and a women were sentenced for offences relating to cannabis distribution.
As well as seizing more than $400,000 in cash during drugs raids in April 1999, the police commandeered a boat, four Harley-Davidson motorcycles and several other vehicles from these defendants and six other people in whose names the property was held.
The property was confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, after the Crown filed documents in the Auckland District Court, but the fleet of vehicles has yet to be sold.
They have been kept for three years in a secret lock-up, awaiting clearance from Mr Goff and the Official Assignee.
About $400,000 was found in a Foodtown shopping bag in a safe in a pensioner flat in Otara, and several smaller amounts were seized from various storage units and homes of Tribesmen members and associates.
The recovery effort, Operation Merlin, was a combined effort of police and Crown prosecution investigators specialising in stripping big-time drugs offenders of their ill-gotten gains.
Cannabis is not the only illegal drug on the gang's list.
Less than three weeks ago, the High Court at Auckland sentenced patched Tribesman Reuben Brian Shannon to four years' jail for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
Shannon is known to the police as a senior delegate to a sinister alliance set up by previously warring ethnic and "white-power" gangs from Northland to Wellington to make and sell the lucrative drug, better known as speed.
Police busted 41 illegal speed laboratories last year, compared with just one in 1996, and discovered the existence of the coalition - which calls itself "The Top Table" - in bugged conversations during a three-month investigation.
They seized more than $173,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and speed-baking instructions from the vehicle of an associate of Shannon, who had been co-opted to "cook" for the coalition.
Guess was sentenced to six years' jail at the same time as Shannon's court appearance.
The Tribesmen have chapters in Northland and Murupara in the Bay of Plenty, as well as in South Auckland, and Detective Sergeant Richard Middleton said yesterday that they held regular crime-planning conferences.
They are believed to be affiliated with the Highway 61 motorcycle gang, which is tied in with Australian crime syndicates. (yeah thats why Im so rich....lol..what a joke..)
Another Tribesman, Lenin Wayne Lazarus, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the pistol shooting murder of a man he suspected of being a police informer.
wins freedom, will sue cops
April 9, 2002 - Herald Sun
April 8, 2002 - New Zealand
The Government has begun a review of laws which have so far allowed it to seize more than $1.5 million from drug traffickers as part of a crackdown on crime. Justice Minister Phil Goff said the cash and assets confiscated from gang members and other criminals convicted of drug-related offences had been deposited into the Government's consolidated accounts. There was satisfaction in knowing money created through crime would now be used to help fund services like health and education, he said. But National MP Tony Ryall criticised the amount seized so far as pathetic, given the tens of millions of dollars made by drug traffickers in New Zealand. He said if National were elected, it would revamp the Proceeds of Crime Act 1991 to give police more power to take all assets owned by the criminal, rather than just those linked to the crime they were charged with. Mr Goff said a review of the law had started and was expected to be completed within 12 months. He said the review would look at whether police procedures could be made more straightforward and whether the law could be made more effective in taking criminal assets. "But there still needs to be a level of proof before you confiscate people's assets," he said. Mr Ryall said if criminals could not prove their cash was clean, the Government should confiscate it. "Phil Goff should be embarrassed that's all the community has been able to get back from these low-lifes," he said. Mr Goff said Mr Ryall and the National Government had had nine years to improve the legislation and had not done so. The Government's take included $626,257 of property and cash from members of the Tribesman motorcycle club, as reported in the Herald. The South Auckland members had been convicted of drug offences and money-laundering. The assets, which included four Harley-Davidson motorbikes and $406,870 in cash, were seized three years ago in police raids but the money has only now gone into the Government's consolidated fund. A further $600,000 in cars, cash and real estate has been forfeited by two other drug-sellers. The final $275,000 was taken from four other criminals with drug convictions. Mr Goff said the drugs involved were LSD, methamphetamine, Fantasy and cannabis. The criminals would serve between two and 13 years in prison.
Gang's drug profits in state
April 08, 2002 - New Zealand
More than $600,000 of a South Auckland motorcycle club's assets have been signed into the Government's coffers, three years after being seized in police raids. Justice Minister Phil Goff has signed an authorization for cash and assets seized from members of the Tribesmen to go into the Government's consolidated fund. This follows a complex web of legal procedures overseen by the Official Assignee's office in the Ministry of Economic Development, after five men and a women were sentenced for offences relating to cannabis distribution. As well as seizing more than $400,000 in cash during drugs raids in April 1999, the police commandeered a boat, four Harley-Davidson motorcycles and several other vehicles from these defendants and six other people in whose names the property was held. The property was confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, after the Crown filed documents in the Auckland District Court, but the fleet of vehicles has yet to be sold. They have been kept for three years in a secret lock-up, awaiting clearance from Mr Goff and the Official Assignee. About $400,000 was found in a Foodtown shopping bag in a safe in a pensioner flat in Otara, and several smaller amounts were seized from various storage units and homes of Tribesmen members and associates. The recovery effort, Operation Merlin, was a combined effort of police and Crown prosecution investigators specializing in stripping big-time drugs offenders of their ill-gotten gains. Cannabis is not the only illegal drug on the list. Less than three weeks ago, the High Court at Auckland sentenced patched Tribesman Reuben Brian Shannon to four years' jail for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Shannon is known to the police as a senior delegate to a sinister alliance set up by previously warring ethnic and "white-power" gangs from Northland to Wellington to make and sell the lucrative drug, better known as speed. Police busted 41 illegal speed laboratories last year, compared with just one in 1996, and discovered the existence of the coalition - which calls itself "The Top Table" - in bugged conversations during a three-month investigation. They seized more than $173,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and speed-baking instructions from the vehicle of an associate of Shannon, guess who had been co-opted to "cook" for the coalition. guess was sentenced to six years' jail at the same time as Shannon's court appearance. The Tribesmen have chapters in Northland and Murupara in the Bay of Plenty, as well as in South Auckland, and Detective Sergeant Richard Middleton said yesterday that they held regular crime-planning conferences. They are believed to be affiliated with the Highway 61 motorcycle club. Another Tribesman, Lenin Wayne Lazarus, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the pistol shooting murder of a man he suspected of being a police informer.
ASIO has right
to detain for up to six days
April 7 2002
People arrested under the Federal Government's anti-terrorism laws could be held by ASIO for six days, not just two days as previously thought.
Details of the law revealed by Attorney-General Daryl Williams show ASIO would be able to get two consecutive warrants, each for detention for 48 hours.
But, in extraordinary circumstances, the director-general of ASIO would be able to extend the detention a further 48 hours - making a total of 144 hours.
Approval for a third warrant would have to be gained from a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the quasi-legal body which hears disputes over public service decisions.
The extended detention
powers, hidden in the fine print of the ASIO Legislation
Amendment (Terrorism) Bill, are sure to spark renewed concern
about civil rights implications.
But they appear likely to be watered down after the Government agreed to send the Bill to a specialist parliamentary inquiry for scrutiny.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, overseas intelligence agency ASIS and the Defence Signals Directorate will report on the bill by May 3.
The chairman, Liberal MP David Jull, said the inquiry, which will call ASIO to give evidence, would focus on the agency's power to detain and question people. Mr Jull said the public was not aware that ASIO might be able to extend detention well beyond the initial 48-hour period.
"That's one of the reasons to flick it off to this committee," Mr Jull said. "We are the watchdog to make sure there is a balance [in the law]."
The new powers would enable ASIO to hold people for questioning even if they are not suspected of terrorist activity themselves. The agency must only believe that the person might have information about a terrorist offence that it could not obtain any other way.
Mr Williams insists the powers were only to be used in rare cases.
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|Premiers back new crime agency
April 5 2002 - Australia
State and territory leaders have thrown their support behind abolishing the National Crime Authority in favor of a remodeled national crime-fighting body. In what is expected to be a rare point of agreement, the leaders will today back the Howard Government's argument that the NCA should be phased out - but authority over the new body may cause discord. In a communiqué issued yesterday, the state and territory leaders called for the establishment of an Australian Crime Commission to investigate "criminal activity of national significance". "To strengthen the fight against organized crime, it is proposed to replace the NCA with an Australian Crime Commission that builds on the important features of the NCA for effective national law enforcement operation in partnerships with state and territory police forces whilst removing the current barriers to its effectiveness," the communiqué said. During last year's federal election campaign, Prime Minister John Howard flagged a greater role for the Commonwealth in fighting global crime and terrorism and said he would consider replacing the NCA.
The NCA, established nearly 20 years ago, is a collaborative venture that relies on referred state police powers to investigate organized crime, including drug syndicates and biker gangs. The Federal Government believes the NCA is too cumbersome, relying on referrals of power for each investigation, and has lost pace with rapidly evolving organized and global crime. The Australian Crime Commission, according to the states' proposal, would be governed by a board with members from the federal Attorney-General's Department, the Australian Federal Police, customs, ASIO, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and state and territory police. The Australian Crime Commission would retain the NCA's capacity to use coercive powers. The states and territories would also permit the Australian Federal Police to investigate state offences if they were incidental to "multi-jurisdictional crime". The state and territory leaders also backed reform of money-laundering laws by agreeing to uniform legislation.
Security breach link to bikers
April 5, 2002 - Australia
A woman linked to the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle club has been questioned by police over allegedly accessing Department of Transport computer records and passing on sensitive information. Police said no charges had been laid, but the woman had been questioned over a security breach in the Department of Transport's computer system which holds all personal details contained on drivers' licenses. The woman was questioned after her allegedly unauthorized retrieval of records in the computer system triggered a police alarm. Police would not comment on how long the woman may have had access to information which could put at risk rival gang members, police, lawyers and judges. Comment was being sought from the Department of Transport. Officers questioning the woman are investigating the Gypsy Jokers' links to the car-bomb deaths last year of former top police officer Don Hancock, 64, and his friend Lawrence Lewis, 63. Two Gypsy Jokers members have been arrested this year and charged over the murders. Graeme Slater, 35, has been charged with two counts of willful murder. Sidney John Reid, 38, confessed to planting the bomb and was sentenced to 15 years' jail in a secret sitting of the West Australian Supreme Court last week amid fears of retaliation from the club. Reid shaved 10 years off his likely sentence by giving police "unprecedented" cooperation which has since resulted in the arrest of another Gypsy Jokers member, Gary Ernest White, 47, over the murder of 35-year-old Anthony Tapley, who disappeared last year.
4, 2002 - Australia
WA Rebel leader cleared.
A WA Rebel leader was acquitted of
threatening to kill a detective recently despite admitting that
he reacted angrily when police raided his clubhouse 8 months ago.
Richard John Roberts 50. said he cursed Det Sgt Mark Wayne Fyfe, after police broke into the Rebels motorcycle clubs headquarters in September 22.
But he denied threatening to kill the officer.
Roberts, better known as Rebel Rick, said police had caused extensive damage
to the Malaga premises as part of a series of raids on outlaw motorcycle clubs on September 21.
He is serving an eight-year prison term.
Roberts told the District Court recently that he was angry police had used an angle-grinder to force entry despite being given a key.
Sgt Fyfe said the key did not work.
At the time, Fyfe said he was supervisor of the outlaw motorcycle gang task force and gave his work phone number to the Rebel.
He testified that Roberts repeatedly threatened to kill him and another officer during a mobile telephone call and then threatened to start a war with police.
Joker associate in court today
A 47-year-old Gypsy Joker associate will
appear in a Perth court today charged with the wilful murder of a
man whose remains are believed to have been unearthed at a
derelict property last week.
Gary Ernest White will appear in the West Australian Supreme Court for a bail application hearing, after he was charged last week by police investigating bikie gangs.
Officers last week scoured a property at Northam, 100km east of Perth, where they uncovered what are believed to be the skull and bones of 35-year-old Anthony Tapley, who disappeared last year.
Police who arrested White were understood to have been acting on information supplied by 38-year-old Gypsy Joker turned informant Sidney John Reid.
Reid was sentenced last week to life in jail for his part in the car bomb murders of former Perth detective Don Hancock and his friend Lou Lewis - discounted from 25 years after he gave unprecedented help to police.
White, from suburban Maddington, appeared in the East Perth Magistrate's Court on Easter Saturday and was remanded in custody until today's formal bail application.
|Caught by cell phone's secret
April 2, 2002 - New Zealand
Mark Lundy was bugged with a locator beacon ... just like the one millions of New Zealanders carry. The tracking device was so powerful it could pinpoint his location to within several hundred metres. It was a cellphone. Evidence in Lundy's double-murder trial showed how police traced where he was on the night of the killings by scanning through cellphone records. The records not only showed when and to whom Lundy made calls - but where he was when the calls were made. And a cell phone will pinpoint its owner's location even if it is not in use. As long as it is turned on, it lets the telephone network know where it is about once every 20 minutes. The information is recorded, enabling authorities to later trace where a cell phone - and, probably, it's owner - were at certain times. In Australia, civil liberties groups complained when police admitted that they could track people if they were carrying "implanted transmitters". In some cases, even streets could be identified but the accuracy was affected by interference from buildings, topography, and other cell phone traffic. Police in Switzerland admitted they had been secretly tracking the movements of more than one million cell phone users. In New Zealand, telephone companies store the information about the country's 2.3 million cell phones for up to seven years. Police and intelligence agencies can get that information with a search warrant. A Telecom spokesman said yesterday that the company received about 12,000 requests a year for official access to information about cell phone, landline and internet users a year. A Vodafone spokeswoman could not give a figure but said the company dealt with the police daily. The Telecom spokesman said the information was not specific about the cell phone's location. It could tell only the general area, but sometimes this could be useful in criminal investigations. During the Lundy trial, evidence was given that on the morning after the murders, Lundy drove from within the reception area of Telecom's Johnsonville cell phone transmitter to Palmerston North's Tremaine Ave in 1hr 23min. Records also showed that Lundy's 5.30pm call to his wife on the night of the murder went through the Petone transmitter and finished at 5.38pm. Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane is receiving public submissions on a proposed code that would limit what companies and agencies can do with cell phone information and how long the data could be kept.
Hancock bomb reward
April 01, 2002 - The West Australian
A $500,000 reward - the biggest in WA history - remains unclaimed after Sidney John Reid admitted the car-bomb murders of former CIB boss Don Hancock and friend Lou Lewis. The State Government put up the bounty to break the biker code of silence and find the killers of Mr Hancock, 64, and Mr Lewis, 63, who died outside Mr Hancock's home on September 1. Police Minister Michelle Roberts said yesterday that Reid's confession in a secret hearing in the Supreme Court last Wednesday had not resulted in a claim on the reward. The former Gypsy Jokers biker, who appeared in court by video link, got a minimum 15 years for the willful murder of Mr Hancock and eight years for murdering Mr Lewis. The sentences will run concurrently. Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock QC said he did not know of any other criminal case in WA from which public and media were banned. Circumstances in this matter were extreme and unique. Mr Cock said Reid's lawyer, Robert Mazza, and prosecutor Ken Bates had suggested a closed hearing to Justice Robert Anderson. The judge agreed that media and public should be excluded because of the lawyers' security concerns. Mr Cock would not concede there were fears of a terrorist-style attack on the court. Mr Mazza and Mr Bates saw the judge after Reid was jailed to agree on edits to the transcript of proceedings before it was released to the media. "If we were to do this whole matter again I would adopt the same course of action," Mr Cock said. "Sidney Reid has absolutely broken the bikers' code of silence." National Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said the whole court procedure had been regrettable and raised more questions than it answered. It was a worrying trend across Australia where police informers got discounts in sentences in secret court hearings which hid their identities to prevent retribution in jail. An informer who planned to testify against others would be made known to a defendant in the normal disclosure process in the lead-up to a court case. The Hancock inquiry showed people could be brought to trial in biker and organized crime cases without the controversial powers sought in State Government anti-gang laws. The criminal investigation exceptional powers Bill removes the right to silence for individuals in organized crime cases and gives police power to demolish biker fortresses. Police yesterday finished scouring a rural property in Northam where they have discovered what are believed to be the skull and bones of Anthony Tapley, 35, who disappeared last year. A close associate of the Gypsy Jokers was remanded in custody charged with his willful murder. Gary Ernest White, 47, of Maddington, was not required to plead when he appeared in East Perth Magistrate's Court on Saturday.
ex GJ taking more with him....
POLICE will allege labourer Anthony
Tapley was murdered in a long-running feud over a drug debt.
The South Hedland man was shot in the head and his body dumped with rubbish on a derelict Northam property.
Gypsy Joker bikie gang associate Gary Ernest White was
arrested on Thursday after police found human remains buried on the rural property.
Yesterday, police uncovered more pieces of bone on the property, 15km north of Northam, which is regularly used by Gypsy Jokers.
Tight security surrounded East Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday when the tattooed Mr White, 47, of Jade St, Maddington, made a brief appearance on a charge of wilful murder.
Armed Tactical Response Group officers patrolled the entrance to the police station while others stood guard in the small courtroom.
Mr White was not required to plead to the charge. And when Magistrate Terence McIntyre called him back to court for a second time after forgetting to set a remand date, and then giving the wrong date, he muttered: ``Got it right?''
He was remanded in custody until April 4.
Police said Mr White was a long-time associate of several bikie gang members, including founding Gypsy Jokers member Les Hoddy. They allege he shot Mr Tapley, 35, several times in the garden of his Jade St home in August last year before dumping the body.
Mr Tapley, a single man whose parents live in the state's South-West, was not a member of the Gypsy Jokers.
It is understood po lice were tipped off about the killing by former Gypsy Joker Sidney John Reid, who this week turned
informer and pleaded guilty to the bombing murders of former CIB chief Don Hancock and his friend Lou Lewis.
Harley-Davidson and Ford Motor Company join forces in a new strategic alliance that brings together two of America's most powerful brands. The alliance paves the way for a series of technical and marketing ventures, the first of which is Ford's sponsorship of the Harley-Davidson Superbike racing program.
The formal alliance, announced at Daytona Beach, Florida's annual Bike Week, will include Ford and HarleyDavidson centennial promotions in 2003, the 100th anniversary for both of the American companies.
"This alliance brings together two of the most well-known and admired brands in the world. Ford's involvement with our Superbike team is just the first step in our joint technical and marketing activities. The opportunities for synergy are intriguing," said Jeff L. Bleustein, Chairman and CEO, HarleyDavidson.
"Racing is in the DNA of both Ford and HarleyDavidson. So, we are pleased to launch our alliance by sponsoring the factory team in the Superbike series. Our alliance with HarleyDavidson brings together two great American brands, loved by driving and riding enthusiasts around the world," said Jim O'Connor, president of Ford Division and Ford Motor Co. vice president.
"Sponsoring HarleyDavidson's Superbike team is a logical step for us given our strong commitment to other race series around the world, such as NASCAR, Formula One and CART," continued O'Connor. "For the future, we are working on a number of great projects that'll benefit both companies and emphasize the strong links between HarleyDavidson owners and pickup truck buyers."
The Ford oval logo appeared on HarleyDavidson's factory-sponsored VR 1000 racing motorcycles in the Daytona 200, the season opener of the MBNA Superbike Tour. The 13-race AMA Superbike series runs March through October of 1999.( ????????? Ed)
The HarleyDavidson road racing program received a big boost this year with the announcement that former AMA and World Superbike champion, Scott Russell, had signed a two-year contract with Team HarleyDavidson. He will join Pascal Picotte to form a formidable team racing VR 1000 Superbikes in the U.S.-based series.
"The five-year alliance allows Ford and HarleyDavidson to establish a close working relationship that will yield many great projects for our customers. This is a very exciting opportunity for Ford and the alliance will help us reach into the world of Harley Davidson and their loyal consumers," said Jim O'Connor.
"The customer bases for our companies are very complementary. Loyalty to the brand and pride of ownership is common to both brands, but the real benefits come when we help each other in technical and marketing programs," said Jeff Bleustein.
HarleyDavidson Motor Company produces heavyweight motorcycles and offers a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, apparel, and general merchandise. Buell Motorcycle Company produces sport and sport-touring motorcycles. Eaglemark Financial Services, Inc. provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance and credit card programs to Harley Davidson dealers and customers and similar programs for other leisure products manufacturers.
Ford Motor Company is the world's second largest automaker with manufacturing and distribution operations in over 200 countries around the world. Its automotive brands are Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Mazda and Aston Martin. Its automotive related products and services include Hertz, Visteon, Quality Care and Ford Credit.
PRESS STATEMENT FROM TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES LIMITED-- Triumph Motorcycles says distribution of the Triumph range of motorcycles, parts and accessories and their warranty service will continue following a fire that affected part of one of their U.K. manufacturing facilities.
Karl Wharton, managing director of the Hinckley-based motorcycle manufacturer, says that work on rebuilding a section of their Jacknell Road production facility is due to start to later this week.
"The fire, which was confined to a section of the assembly area, was quickly brought under control and has only affected certain areas at one of our four production and distribution centers in Hinckley. No-one was hurt and all of our 650 U.K. staff are being informed that their jobs are secure," Wharton said.
"It will have no immediate impact on motorcycles ready for distribution held in our network of bike stores in the U.K., Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries," he added.
Many staff have been working throughout the weekend with the Triumph management team, preparing for Monday's clean-up and contacting the company's worldwide dealer network to inform them that they can order parts and accessories online as usual.
"Stocks of spare parts and most ranges of bikes are available to meet immediate requirements in the U.K. It is also the company's policy to hold stocks of bikes at other distribution centers in Europe and the United States," Wharton said.
The preliminary investigation suggests normal manufacturing operation in the effected areas will recommence within four months.
"Over the past three years Triumph has significantly expanded their manufacturing facilities in the U.K. to meet growing demand. This specific incident will not hinder the on-going success of Triumph," Wharton said.
Giddy Cops celebrate
A former Gypsy Joker and confessed double murderer Sidney John Reid has rolled over and jubilant police are boasting they have smashed the code of silence of the once impregnable motorcycle club. Detectives yesterday charged him with willful murder after information from Reid led police to a property outside Northam, about 100 kilometres north-east of Perth. Police are still searching for the body of a man reported missing late last year. Reid turned on his brothers to save his ass by cutting a deal with police and prosecutors during a secret court hearing on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to killing former CIB chief Don Hancock, 64, and his mate Lou Lewis, 63, who died after a car bomb exploded outside Mr Hancock's home in Perth last September. Reid, who has become Australia's most protected snitch, will probably spend the next 15 years under strict security. He shaved at least 10 years off his sentence by renouncing his links to the Gypsy Jokers, showing remorse for his crimes and promising police to give evidence against his mates. Most importantly, he is giving police inside information about the workings of the club. The National Crime Authority, the Australian Federal Police and numerous state police forces around the country day they will reap rich rewards from Reid's information. He is believed to be the first biker in Australia to "roll over". But Mr Lewis's family is angry that Reid received the minimum jail term. They have urged Upper House Greens MPs not to water down the Gallop Government's tough anti-gang laws. Details of Wednesday's hearing were suppressed because cops, bent on spreading propaganda of fear with of concerns of a terrorist style attack on the court, though Reid appeared via a video link from the secure handling unit at Casuarina Prison. Justice Robert Anderson said Reid's decision to help police had placed his life at risk, but he warned Reid that if he failed to fulfill those undertakings he would be brought back before the courts and re-sentenced. "It was a cold-blooded, premeditated, planned bomb attack intended to take the life of one man for reasons of revenge without regard for who else might be killed or maimed in the process," he said. Reid, who admitted placing the bomb under the front seat of Mr Lewis' station wagon at Belmont Park racecourse, was jailed for a minimum of 15 years for the willful murder of Mr Hancock and a minimum of eight years for Mr Lewis' murder. The sentences will be served concurrently. Police believed the attack on Mr Hancock was a payback for the sniper-style shooting of member Billy Grierson near Kalgoorlie on October 1, 2000 which the police refuse to investigate. Detective Superintendent David Caporn admitted on Thursday that Mr Hancock was "a person of interest" in the Grierson murder investigation and believed the Grierson inquest, which was postponed after Mr Hancock's murder, would eventually go ahead. A second Gypsy Joker, Graeme Slater, 35, has also been charged over the bombing and is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on May 16.
15-years for bomb deaths
A MEMBER of the Gypsy Jokers bikie gang
charged over the car bomb murders of a former Perth detective and
another man has been sentenced to 15 years jail.
Sidney John Reid, 38, was sentenced in a special closed sitting of the West Australian Supreme Court yesterday, but the special hearing and jail term was announced by court officers only today.
He was one of two members of the Gypsy Jokers gang charged for the murders.
Reid pleaded guilty to the wilful murder of former police detective commander Don Hancock and the murder of racing identity Lawrence "Lou" Lewis.
The men died when a bomb exploded in Mr Lewis' car as they pulled into the driveway of Mr Hancock's suburban Perth home on September 1 last year.
Court officers said the sentencing was held in secret because Reid had been "involved in a terrorist-style attack, involving a powerful explosive device capable of being remotely detonated".
"The risk that it might be repeated could not be excluded," a statement from a Supreme Court spokeswoman said.
"The safety of all parties, including those who may be present in court, was considered.
"Members of the victims' families were permitted to be present in court."