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January 12, 2012
POLICE have set up a mobile station and will shadow members of one of the nation's most violent bikie gangs as they gather in Queensland as part of a recruitment drive.
The Gypsy Jokers, with chapters in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, have already started arriving in Brisbane for a poker run, where bikies ride together and converge on hotels and casinos.
State Crime Operations Chief Superintendent Gayle Hogan said police had set up shop near the gang's Everton Park clubhouse and door-knocked nearby residents.
"We have no particular intelligence to indicate that any offences are going to occur or that there is any risk to the public at this stage," she said.
"What we are doing is making sure we are in position to manage this run and make sure that traffic is adhered to . . . and that the public remain safe."
Chief Supt Hogan said there was no indication that a turf war was imminent.
"There may be some tensions between criminal organisations in respect to the different kind of activity they are in, but we have no intelligence to indicate that this group or any other group are likely to be involved in a turf war," she said.
"At this stage the poker run is not an unlawful activity.
"All outlaw motorcycle gang members recruit as any organisation would do. Whether they're trying to make a huge recruitment drive, I'm not in a position to say that."
The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed the Gypsy Jokers, members of which notoriously killed a former West Australian police officer with a car bomb in Perth in 2001, would stage its national gathering in Brisbane.
State Traffic Command acting Chief Supt Andy Morrow said police anticipated a large number turning up.
"They (Gypsy Jokers) should be warned, if the laws are broken, if traffic regulations and rules are broken, we will act," he said.
"We're not providing any escort to this group, but we are providing an intense observation, so we'll be travelling with them, we'll be observing, but in terms of providing an escort, absolutely not, no."