colours has become optional.
Comanchero bikie gang chief Mark Buddle / Pic: AAP
THE self-proclaimed national leader of the
Comanchero bikie gang, Mark Buddle, doesn't have a motorcycle licence -
or a bike.
Desperate to recruit and beef up their numbers, many
outlaw motorcycle gangs are allowing new members to join even if they don't
The current crop of bikie gang members are in fact
car-driving criminals who have very little to do with the traditional bikie
on the back of his Harley.
"Show a modern Comanchero a motorbike and he wouldn't know
how to ride it," former detective Duncan McNab said yesterday.
"They are criminal gangs who sometimes get on a bike."
He said the move away from the traditional bikie
stereotype started as far back as the 90s with the Comancheros, but even the
gang's founder Jock Ross, preferred his ute to his bike.
At the Campbelltown funeral for slain Hells Angel
associate Tyrone Slemnick last Friday, only a handful of mourners were on
"The rest came in buses or cars," Detective Superintendent
Arthur Katsogiannis, head of the NSW gangs squad, said.
"The traditional bikie has changed dramatically. Many
don't have bikes or even licences and get driven round by other members."
Old-style bikies hate the moniker but the term "Nike bikie"
has gained prominence in recent years as more OMCGs ditch traditional rules
which demand a member must have a bike before being accepted by a club. It
used to be that the bikes were signed over to the club and if the member
left on good terms, they got to keep the ride. If they were thrown out, they
had to forfeit the bike.
"Clubs now recruit people for what they can bring to the
club. That could be financial expertise, business acumen or muscle," Supt
Another factor getting bikies off their Harleys is that
they are a magnet for police attention and reprisals from rival gangs.
Supt Katsiogiannis said Strike Force Raptor, set up four
years ago to combat bikie gangs, was the reason why many bikies had lost
their licences with more than 2000 traffic offences following the arrests of
2000 bikies and associates as well as 5000 charges laid including gun and
"It makes it hard for them to do business if they can't
get around. We keep arresting them if they drive without a licence," Supt
Kings Cross police remember when former Nomads bikie boss
Sam Ibrahim lost his licence and had to ride double.
"He wasn't happy,' a Kings Cross officer said.