Police blitz on gangs
1st Dec 2012 2:00 PM
One hundred gang and
motorcycle club members were stopped in their tracks by police as
they returned from burying a high-ranking member of the Filthy Few
The funeral procession for Dennis "Deno" Pedersen brought the industrial area of Judea to a standstill yesterday as members of the Filthy Few carried him to a vintage hearse.
Members of the Tauranga Filthy Few saluted the coffin and hundreds lined the street outside the Birch St clubrooms to say farewell to Mr Pedersen, 54.
The huge procession of motorcycles and cars travelled to Tauranga Park at Pyes Pa for the service were a loudspeaker was set up for the 300-plus people paying their respects outside.
The funeral hall was filled to capacity.
Gangs and motorcycle clubs, including Head Hunters, Hells Angels, Rebels and the Filthy Few, travelled from throughout New Zealand and Australia to remember the Tauranga businessman who owned the Curiosity store.
Police placed cordons at Birch St and Koromiko St after the funeral.
Dozens of police cars and officers staffed the checkpoints, which blocked each street leading to the Filthy Few's clubrooms. Each rider, bike and car were checked over by officers before being let through.
Most riders were co-operative but some mouthed off to police and others rode away with their fingers in the air.
Of the 100 vehicles stopped, some 25 infringement notices were issued for offences such as no warrant of fitness, no helmets, licence breaches and driving in a manner likely to cause injury.
About 75 alcohol breath tests were carried out and one person was ordered off a bike for exceeding the demerit point limit.
Filthy Few associate Mike So-Sich said the police were over-reacting.
"It's disrespectful," Mr So-Sich said.
"They are targeting them on a sombre day."
When pressed about reports of dangerous driving and not wearing helmets, Mr So-Sich said people not wearing helmets was a sign of respect for the fallen.
"He was a businessman in Tauranga and he was a fair man and a very humble man. He was one of the highest ranking club members in New Zealand and was respected as such," Mr So-Sich said.
Western Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said police received many reports of motorcyclists in the funeral procession not wearing helmets, running red lights, driving dangerously and blocking intersections.
Mr Paxton said there was a need for police to ensure roading laws were adhered to and police made the decision to wait until after the service to do so.
"Whilst we can accept and respect the arrangements of the funeral today, we have chosen to complete [checkpoints] at the completion of those arrangements," Mr Paxton said.
"The road rules and laws are for everybody. We don't distinguish between groups.
"At the end of the day we are about keeping the community and community members safe."
Staff at other businesses closer to the checkpoints declined to comment except to say customers called saying they could not reach them and staff were unable to park because the car parks were filled with motorbikes.
Tauranga driver Ken Holland, who worked in the area, said the checkpoints were over the top.
"It's just one day. Have a bit of respect. They are saying goodbye. Give them that bit of time," Mr Holland said.
Mr Pedersen was killed in a motorcycle crash in Lindis Pass in the South Island on Monday.
Last year police held a similar check point after the funeral of Louis Gray-Morgan.