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EDITORIAL: Get serious on bikie gangs who think they can standover regular Queenslanders

A WEEK after Premier Campbell Newman declared war on bikies, details have emerged of even more disturbing behaviour, including today's story that they are targeting businesspeople as part of an extortion racket.

Apprentice tradies and young gym junkies are just some targets of the thugs. Victims are bashed, threatened with weapons and forced to pay 'fines' of up to $30,000 to the tattooed standover men.

New figures show Queensland bikie gang members and associates have been charged with 1886 offences in the past six months. The rap sheet includes charges for murder, torture, kidnapping, stalking, assault and being armed in public.

Police and politicians are targeting the gangs after last weekend's rampage on the Gold Coast by Bandidos bikies.

It underscores the extraordinary head in the sand approach deployed by senior Gold Coast police over the past two years. Police Minister Jack Dempsey was told by senior officers - and he reported to Parliament - that there had been just three bikie-related crimes on the Gold Coast in 2012. It was not only embarrassing but showed the disdain and contempt senior police have for accountability and transparency.

The Premier wants a zero tolerance approach to bikie crime. If that means heads must roll, so be it. It's interesting that former top Gold Coast cops, Brett Pointing and Jim Keogh, have been drafted in to help solve the crisis. This is a terrific move because both men are capable and competent, but it's a damning indictment on the current administration.

This week, Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey will unveil one of the biggest advertising spends ever launched to help the Gold Coast tourist industry.

It will coincide with bikie raids and a hardline police approach to any person riding a bike as part of an outlaw motorcycle gang. Why would the government spend tens of millions of dollars promoting the state's tourism jewel when the bikies are out of control? The Gold Coast's future depends on the cops getting serious about ridding the city of these criminals.




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