Former boxer charged as bikie gangs recruit more
Houston and Maris Beck
September 12, 2010
Petridis in his boxing days.
champion boxer who recently joined the Finks
motorcycle gang has been charged over an
alleged assault outside a Melbourne bar that
left a man with a broken jaw and fractured
attack comes as bikie gangs bolster their
ranks with known underworld figures and
violent thugs - a tactic which has led
authorities to form a multi-agency taskforce
involving Victoria Police and the Australian
violence in Melbourne involving bikie gangs
- particularly the Bandidos, Comancheros and
the Finks, which all set up Victorian bases
last year after other states introduced
tough anti-association laws - will put added
pressure on Premier John Brumby to follow
In the latest
incident, Tosca Petridis, a former
Australian cruiserweight champion, is
alleged to have bashed a man in front of the
Fashion Lounge bar on Flinders Lane last
month. The 43-year-old was recently
recruited by the Finks and has links to the
security firm used by Fashion Lounge.
The Finks are
the subject of a separate police
investigation over a brawl near King Street
strip club Showgirls Bar 20, which involved
up to 10 members of the gang.
Police spokeswoman confirmed Petridis had
been charged, but would not discuss the
A director of
the Fashion Lounge, who refused to give his
name, said the bar had no comment.
2009, Prahran police were forced to evict
Petridis from a Chapel Street club after he
threatened a manager. A police van was
damaged by an associate of Petridis, but no
charges were laid after the venue's owners
refused to assist with the investigation.
concerns about the growing power of bikie
gangs in Melbourne have been fuelled by some
gangs' recruitment of high-level criminals,
many with a background in kickboxing or
mixed martial arts.
police source said some of the new gang
members had never ridden a motorcycle, but
the clubs wanted them for their muscle and
they wanted to join bikie gangs to expand
their criminal influence.
are only interested in expanding their
criminal networks. They [motorcycle gangs]
are increasingly sophisticated
organisations, but many of them wouldn't
even know how to start a bike,'' the source
have aligned themselves with several former
heavyweight kickboxers, including Toby
Mitchell and the Zakharia brothers.
named by the Purana taskforce as a suspect
in the underworld murder of Mark Mallia in
a former winner of the Mr Australia
bodybuilding competition, was jailed for
three years in 1990 after he was caught
posting cocaine from the United States,
while older brother George was imprisoned
for robbery in the 1980s.
are believed to be responsible for a string
of savage beatings, including that of former
Heat nightclub manager Robert Bottazzi in
March, over his failure to settle a debt.
Comancheros also established a Melbourne
base last year and promptly appointed
convicted heroin trafficker and former
kickboxer Amad ''Jay'' Malkoun as the club's
recently revealed an international drug
importation ring with links to the
Comancheros, Chinese triads and corrupt