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New laws target bikie gang cash

THE noose is tightening around outlaw bikie organisations on the Gold Coast with new anti-organised crime laws which were passed through Parliament last night.

The laws will give the Crime and Misconduct Commission the power to seize cash, property, cars and other assets of the ``Mr Bigs'' of bikie and organised crime gangs charged or convicted of serious crimes, unless they can prove they were  earned legally.

The laws will be enacted as the Supreme Court later this year hears debate on an application to declare the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks a criminal organisation  a move which would see them disbanded and chased out of the city. But the new ``unexplained wealth'' laws have been criticised for going too far and becoming a cash grab for the State Government.

Similar laws have been in place in Western Australia for the past five years.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the laws targeted the ``ill-gotten gains'' of criminals.

``While such criminals may risk imprisonment, they must now contemplate losing all their assets,'' he said.

``It's about going after the Mr Bigs of the crime world.''

Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens said the laws would help fight back against bikies infiltrating the Gold Coast.

``While many do have legitimate businesses, the ones involved in illegal activity are going to get caught,'' he said.

But Gold Coast criminal lawyer Bill Potts said the move was a step too far because the laws allowed the Crown to seize any assets, not just those bought from the proceeds of crime.

``This is effectively unjust enrichment of the state,'' he said.

``Just about everything you've ever owned can be taken away by the Crown.''

He said the laws were also a reversal of the onus of proof, because the target of the seizure order had to prove their assets were legally obtained.

Under existing laws, the Crime and Misconduct Commission in 2003 restrained more than $4 million in property from Finks bikie kingpin Charlie Cannon, including his Jaguar car, Paradise Point waterfront mansion and two catamarans.

The Gold Coast has had its image badly tarnished by the image of bikie violence running rife through the city.

In one of the most public  examples, Finks bikie Mark James Graham allegedly opened fire on rival gang member Jacques Teamo in broad daylight in the Robina Town Centre.


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