Paula Doneman, Yahoo!7Updated November 8, 2012, 7:02 pm
Hells Angels, the world’s most notorious and oldest bikie gang, is expanding their stronghold on the Gold Coast.
The move could have major ramifications in fuelling tensions with other Queensland-based gangs who have long fought to stop Hells Angels from encroaching on their turf.
The Gold Coast’s large transient population makes it an attractive destination to bikie gangs wanting to exploit lucrative criminal markets such as drugs and prostitution.
It is unknown whether the new Gold Coast chapter of the Hells Angels has approached the other six resident gangs in attempt to keep the peace.
“One of the reasons the clubs don’t like Hells Angels is because when they move into new areas, rather than starting fresh with recruitment, they try and patch over other clubs or poach members from resident gangs."
"They are also more prone to resort to violence than other gangs, particularly when they’re moving in on new territory to monopolize criminal enterprise," a police source told Seven News.
“The club at Logan is considered vulnerable as its numbers are low and at one point, it risked losing its patch from the Hells Angels international charter when they failed to retaliate in Queensland against the Finks over the Ballroom Blitz at Royal Pines in 2006," the officer said.
Hells Angels are currently fortifying premises and installing security cameras in an industrial area at Burleigh on the Gold Coast - the location is partially in Black Uhlans Territory and on the doorstep of long -time rivals, the Bandidos.
Other gangs have successfully thwarted the efforts of the Hells Angels expanding beyond their Logan clubhouse which opened in 1997.
Bikie and police sources have told Seven News Hells Angels have attempted three times to open clubhouses in inner Brisbane north and south but failed. The latest venture was in Albion, the territorial heartland of the Rebels, in April.
Bikie sources said Hells Angels have been recruiting new members including a Gold Coast based businessman involved in the entertainment industry. The new Gold Coast chapter will also take some members from the gang’s Logan chapter, Seven News has been told.
Bikie and police sources said there had been approaches made from Hells Angels to poach several Bandidos to bolster numbers.
Currently the highest population of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Queensland is between Logan and the Gold Coast.
Violent clashes have erupted between Brisbane and the Gold Coast this year with rival gangs including Hells Angels and Bandidos involved in bashings and drive-by shootings on members’ businesses.
Last month Seven News revealed two Hells Angels bikies have launched a Supreme Court challenge to not be questioned in coercive hearings before the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
The pair were subpoenaed as part of a joint CMC and Queensland Police Operation, Kilo Aquarius, which is investigating the feud between the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Finks.
Documents lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court detail the bloody fight for power and profit stretching from Brisbane to the Gold Coast as authorities battle to break the gangs’ code of silence.
Gangs have shot up and firebombed rivals’ businesses, and members have had violent clashes in a series of tit-for-tat attacks.
One of the Hells Angels summonsed to the hearing is a member of the gang’s “Wrecking Crew” . He was beaten with a baseball bat during an attack allegedly from members of Bandidos at his East Brisbane business in April.
The member who cannot be identified for legal reasons told the commission,” I refuse to answer any questions. I’m genuinely fearful of my safety and life if I answer any questions about those matters.”
In the latest incident, the Queensland police bikie Taskforce Hydra is investigating allegations three members of the Rebels bashed and stripped a member of the Renegades of his “patch”, the club insignia.
The attack happened at Beenleigh during the Renegades’ “pokie run” on October 27.
This is one of the most serious insults in outlaw motorcycle gang culture as are attacks on rival members during club runs.
Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders, who oversees the South-Eastern police region including the Gold Coast, confirmed Hells Angels has leased or purchased a premises at Burleigh to open a clubhouse.
“We are aware that the Hells Angels for some time have been trying to set up a place on the Gold Coast and are in the in process of fitting out premises at the moment,’’ he told Seven News.
Mr Rynders said any outlaw motorcycle gang opening a chapter was of concern to law enforcement.
“Certainly we will be monitoring their activities and their relationship with other groups on the Gold Coast,’’ he said.
Mr Rynders said it was hard to gauge how the other Gold Coast gangs’ reaction to the Hells Angels new chapter but there were indications there was a “level of co-operation” between the clubs.
“We have yet to see whether that comes to fruition in the long run but we are hopeful…”
“Outlaw motorcycle gangs do pose a particular problem for the southeast police region. In the Logan and Gold Coast areas we have eight different gangs…with 275 known members…
“We have very, very significant intelligence holdings on outlaw motorcycle gang activity in the region, they are of great concern to us as they are to all law enforcement.’’
The Hells Angels' Burleigh clubhouse will bring a total of 10 chapters in the region.
Former workshop being transformed into the new home of the Hells Angels.
The bikie culture’s “code of silence” can frustrate police investigations Mr Rynders said, as people who have information on their criminal activities and drugs are too scared to come forward for fear of retribution.
“We are having some degree of success, we have made significant arrests of members of outlaw motorcycle gangs…a lot of that has come from policing strategies we have in place.’’
One of those strategies has been the establishment of a senior management committee that examines bikie activities on a weekly basis.
Queensland Police revealed last week to Seven News their inaugural Operational Performance Review of outlaw motorcycle gangs across the state shows they pose the highest threat to the community.
Deputy Police Commissioner Ross Barnett said the review found the activities of Queensland-based bikie gangs were consistent with what was happening across Australia.
“There is rivalry between clubs, recruiting and expansion, (and) their involvement in all manner of criminal markets,’’ he said.