We're not at war: Club Deroes
October 11, 2010
Police have swarmed 20 properties belonging to Coffin Cheaters and Finks motorcycle gang members, taking a number into custody for questioning.
The Club Deroes bikie gang has denied any involvement in the brawl between members of the Finks and Coffin Cheaters at Perth Motorplex, claiming police are running a public fear campaign.
Heavily armed police swarmed 20 properties belonging to Coffin Cheaters and Finks motorcycle gangs on Friday and charged six members from each club with drugs and weapons offences.
The police raids were part of an ongoing investigation into a vicious brawl at the Motorplex in Kwinana, which involved about 20 Finks and Coffin Cheaters bikies and ended in one Fink being shot, another having three fingers severed and a third bikie being bashed.
At the time, Inspector Paul McMurtrie of the specialist crime division said tensions between the gangs were heightened but officers were maintaining the pressure to prevent an all-out war.
"The tensions between these two groups have been ongoing for a number of years. We're certainly in a heightened level of tension. We are monitoring the movements and activities of Coffin Cheaters and Finks members across this country in partnership with our colleagues," he said.
"But I would (not) suggest that we were at a bikie war stage and let me remind you that we are putting strategies in place to ensure the safety of the community."
Police have since claimed a third motorcycle gang, the Club Deroes, was also involved in the brawl and the home of one Club Deroes member was also raided on Friday.
Gang spokesman and representative on the United Motorcycle Council of WA, Eric Meehan, said he was surprised to learn of the raid.
"As far as I know from what's alleged that's happened, there's no evidence my side or any of our fellas were involved," Mr Meehan told WAtoday.com.au.
"Police are running a public fear campaign. We held our UMC meeting on Monday and everyone said there were no dramas, it was just business as usual. There's no war with anyone in Western Australia."
Inspector McMurtrie acknowledged on Friday that the UMCWA had worked, to some extent, to keep the peace between each gang.
"The Finks have openly not wanted to be part of the UMC but I certainly think they've harmed the UMC's cause to this point because of (these) activities," he said.
Mr Meehan said: "At least they acknowledge that the council keeps everyone at bay. The Finks are politically involved in the Eastern States but they tend to keep to themselves here."
However he denied his club had stronger ties to the Coffin Cheaters, who were on the council, saying: "Have you read the newspapers!"
Mr Meehan also called into question the police investigation, claiming officers had lied about their response time in getting to the Motorplex.
Police told reporters they got to the scene shortly after 2pm, about one hour after the brawl which was estimated to have started some time around 1.30pm.
But Mr Meehan said the first car arrived at 5pm, a claim backed by a WAtoday.com.au reader who also saw two unmarked police cars arrive at 5pm, an hour after the race had finished.
"Every Club Deroe was there - we organised the race meeting, which ran smooth as silk," Mr Meehan said.
"After all the racing was done, one blue Commodore with two coppers arrived at the Motorplex and started talking to Motorplex managers and then they started putting tape around everything and we thought, 'oh yeah' and continued to pack up.
"Everyone went home - now if that was a major crime scene why did they let everyone leave?
"There were five or six different clubs there, don't get me wrong, but nobody seems to know what's going on.
"We still trying to make sure that it happened inside the track area or whether it was on the roadside or somewhere else entirely.
"It's strange - I can't make head nor tail of it. None of our fellas have been hurt because none have been involved."
Inspector McMurtrie clarified with WAtoday.com.au that police had received the first reports of people being injured at 1.40pm as Finks members started arriving at Fremantle Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital.
"We didn't know where the crime scene was and we couldn't question them while they were being treated as they weren't very coherent. They weren't very helpful when they were coherent," he said.
"It just took some time to establish when and where the incident took place."
He said he would happily talk to anyone from the Club Deroes if they had information relating to the brawl. So far all motorcycle gangs have been reluctant to provide any information to police.
Meanwhile the ABC are reporting that a man linked to a motorcycle gang was taken into custody yesterday after police found a shotgun in his car after being stopped in Morley.
The car has reportedly been impounded for forensic testing.
Police have yet to confirm the details or whether it is linked to the ongoing clamp-down on motorcycle gangs movements over the motorplex brawl.