A REBELS bikie member claims police made life so difficult for the Hervey Bay club that members had "no choice" but to hand in their colours and close down their clubhouse.
The senior member of the Wide Bay chapter told the Chronicle police put pressure on members by visiting their workplaces, prompting several members to leave the Hervey Bay chapter in the weeks leading up to a fire that destroyed the clubhouse in March.
"Some people had no choice … they have mortgages and they need their jobs," he said.
However, he said the club had not fully disbanded.
"We've still got members (in Hervey Bay). They're still riding," he said.
Maryborough district CIB officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Nikki Colfs said local police made no apologies for doing their job.
"The Rebels OMCG is an organised crime group," she said.
"I believe that police in the Maryborough district have merely carried out their duties, which may have contributed to the disbanded Rebels Hervey Bay chapter."
She disputed claims there was still a Rebels chapter in Hervey Bay.
"At this point in time we are confident that there is no Rebels OMCG Chapter in Hervey Bay," she said.
"We are aware that members from the Sunshine Coast chapter do frequent Hervey Bay and have business associations in the community."
She said local police had been professional and fair in their conduct.
"The community has expectations that their police will make the community a safer place."
Investigations into the clubhouse fire continue.
- Fire gutted the Rebels' clubhouse at the Hervey Bay Airport Industrial Estate late on March 26
- The fire followed an alleged act of vandalism in June 2012, when four windows were smashed at the clubhouse
- After the March 2013 fire, police flagged they would be visiting past members of the disbanded group
IT'S hard to believe there would be much public sympathy for the bikies who handed in their patches following police scrutiny in recent months.
The insignia worn by Rebels is a reference to a supposed statement from the American Motorcycle Association in 1948, that 99% of motorbike riders were well-behaved and only 1% were anti-social.
The former Hervey Bay Rebels members may feel they were unfairly treated by the police, but I believe most members of the public will think the bikies got no more than they should expect.
It might not be fair or true to say that all Rebels bikies are law-breakers - and there's no denying club members do take part in charitable events such as bike runs for kids. Some of these members are happy holding down a regular job and supporting a family. But it is hard to associate with a group of known criminals and not expect to be tarred with the same brush.
Wearing a patch to signify yourself as part of the 1% is a clear indication that you consider yourself outside the law.
The efforts by Maryborough District Criminal Investigation Branch to hamper illegal activity by bikies have been hugely successful, if the comments by a Wide Bay chapter member in today's front page story are anything to go by.
Far from unfairly targeting one group, Maryborough CIB head Nikki Colfs and her team have done exactly what the public wants - wipe out organised crime in the region.