The business of bikies
June 7, 2012 - 3:00AM
Despite its claims to be a humble club of motorcycle enthusiasts built on brotherhood, at the heart of the Gold Coast Finks is a company that shares the name of a Florida beach and has a proven business model.
WhenQueensland police applied to the Supreme Court last week to have the Finks Motorcycle Club declared a criminal organisation, their action was brought against Pompano Pty Ltd.
The registration of Pompano coincided with with the official conception of the Finks Motorcycle Club on April 22, 1986, court documents show.
A motorcycle emblazoned with the Finks brand. Photo: Facebook
And the company's principal place of business is registered to a Wongawallan address that is occupied by one of two Finks club houses on the Gold Coast.
As of July 2010, Pompano comprised 70 shares each issued for $1 among four men.
According to police, current shareholders include Dennis William Inch, Raymond Keith Shipton, Kerry Munro and Robert Leslie Whittall. There are further shares in the name of the late Maxwell John Merchant.
A night out for members of the Finks bikie gang, caught in this shot posted on Facebook by a would-be member. Photo: Facebook
Court documents identify Inch, Shipton, Kerry and Whittall men as "office bearers" of the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks Motorcycle Club. Inch was also the founding director, secretary and shareholder of "Finks M.C. Pty Ltd", which was formed in 1993.
Gordon Garry Smith is named as the current director of Finks M.C. He is reportedly the owner of a 60-hectare property at Good Night, west of Childers, where a second Finks chapter was formed in 2001.
His predecessor was Graeme Anthony Keating - known in club circles as "50" - whose brother is identified in court documents as the Finks reigning Sergeant at Arms, 32-year-old Gregory "25" Keating.
Members of the Finks pose for a photo. Their faces have been pixellated to obscure their identities in the event that a police bid to have the motorcycle club's more-than 40 members designated a criminal organisation is successful.
Greg Keating – the owner of Southport tattoo parlour King of Ink – is identified in the court documents as the Finks' authority figure on the Gold Coast, charged with maintaining internal order and discipline "by any means available".
The Finks "constitution", as enforced by Keating, remained a closely-guarded secret for four decades until two boxes of police evidence and intelligence were made public, along with the application, this week.
There is conflicting information regarding the birthplace of the Finks. One report suggests the club originated in Queensland in 1970, while Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has maintained the Finks are one of its offshoots.
Finks Sergeant at Arms Greg “25” Keating. Photo: Facebook
However, it is widely accepted its roots lay in a western Sydney drinking club.
The Finks main clubhouse is now located on Export Drive in Molendinar.
The club's list of rules dictates the behaviour and responsibilities of members; spells out sanctions for those who fail to attend rallies; and limits the use of club tattoos and colours.
In bold capital letters it states: "No females".
As stated in the rules, "full patch" members are required to wear a leather jacket which bears the club logo of the character "Bung" from the Wizard of Id cartoon and the patch "1%", a reference to the belief shared by all bikies that they operate as part of the one per cent of society outside the law.
Other Finks 'patches' emblazoned on club t-shirts and hooded jumpers include: Support Your Local Fink "S.Y.L.F"; Finks Forever, Forever Finks "F.F.F.F"; 'Trust me I'm a Fink'; and 'A Fink stinks, but smile when you smell me'.
The court brief goes a long way in demonstrating the Finks culture is rooted in obedience to hierarchy, rules and rituals, with stiff, often painful punishment for those who break them.
The Keating brothers are named among nine Finks who form the club's in-house "terror team", responsible for handing out "Finks fines" and ensuring they are paid.
The "terror team" ensures the Finks' business is uninterrupted, according to evidence in the court brief.
In an affidavit before the court, one police informant details how senior Finks members engaged drug runners and limousine drivers to deliver illicit drugs in and around the Gold Coast and interstate.
Before Keating's ascent to the highest club rank, the Finks survived the jailing of its core members in two watershed incidents: the 1996 murder of mechanic Darryl Lewis and the 2006 "Ballroom Blitz" shoot-out with Hells Angels during a kickboxing tournament at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.
However, the nature of the club changed thereafter, according to police.
Where the organisation was involved in generally minor crimes, as detailed in court documents, prior to 1996, younger members who moved into positions of authority within the club led mafia-style extortion attempts, serious assaults and significant drug trafficking.
In an affidavit to the court, the operations manager of anti-bikie Taskforce Hydra, Detective Inspector Garry Watts, said his experiences with the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks showed them to be an organisation involved in "serious criminal activity".
"The organisation presents a significant risk to the community on the Gold Coast, through their criminal activities committed by both individual members of the organisation and in co-operation with other members," Inspector Watts said.