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South Australia anti-bikie laws need teeth like Victoria where police can get military support

NEEDING TEETH: Police raid the Finks club house - now known as Mongols - at Thebarton. Picture: Tait Schmaal

NEEDING LEGAL TEETH: Police raid the Finks club house - now known as Mongols - at Thebarton. Picture: Tait Schmaal Source: News Limited


THEY came armed with a piece of paper, not driving a bulldozer.

While a search warrant achieved the same result at Thebarton yesterday as the spectacular raids in Melbourne last Thursday, it highlights the stark reality that police around the nation are now confronted with - a hotchpotch of bikie legislation, rather than uniform laws.

Put as clearly as possible, Victorian police can demolish an entire bikie clubhouse if they want, not just the front fence.


TOUGH: Police raid the Hells Angels clubrooms in Fairfield, Melbourne. Picture: Nicole Gamston

TOUGH: Police raid the Hells Angels clubrooms in Fairfield, Melbourne. Picture: Nicole Gamston Source: News Limited


Their new legislation gives them that power.

In South Australia, police cannot do this. They can, if they wish to, drive a bulldozer through the front gate to gain entry to execute their warrant, but they have never needed to take that visually dramatic step. The only thing they can legally dismantle is the barbed wire or bars on a window that prevent entry for them.

Police have asked the State Government to strengthen existing legislation to enable them to tackle SA's 13 bikie clubrooms. The request should be one of the first tasks tackled when state parliament resumes this week.

As several dozen armed police combed every inch of the Finks northside chapter - sorry, Mongols north side chapter - club rooms yesterday, irritated gang members could do nothing but stand by impatiently and watch.

Part of a coordinated disruption operation, the show of force by police was a clear indication the patch-over by Finks members to the US-based gang is being taken seriously by police.

It is a clear indication there will be no let up, no breather in the attention paid to the men who once wore Bung on their backs with pride.

On Friday acting police commissioner Grant Stevens indicated it will be business as usual for police despite the change in jumpers.

It can be argued the patch-over will increase the police attention on the gang, at least until the precise motive becomes clear.

In the US the Mongols have a standing "shoot on sight" policy concerning their fierce rivals the Hells Angels. The two gangs have a long, bloody history of violence towards each other.

While the former Finks and local Hells Angels have been warring recently, police will no doubt be closely monitoring their activities to ensure these hostilities are not taken to US levels.

Yesterday's action can also be seen as sending a clear message to all gang members in Adelaide who may have been under the misapprehension the high-profile raids in Victoria and Queensland had taken the police spotlight off them.

It is a pretty fair guess yesterday's actions will be repeated regularly over the next few month's now the bikie phenomena has finally been recognised as a national problem.




By Nigel Hunt

POLICE have welcomed the South Australia's newest motorcycle gang to town with a raid on the Mongols' Thebarton headquarters.


Our police need legal teeth to take fight to bikies

Police speak to a Mongols member at Thebarton. Picture: Tait Schmaal Source: News Limited


Several dozen police - including bikie detectives and uniformed officers - swarmed the compound of the US-based gang yesterday, just days after Victorian police launched an unprecedented crackdown on the Hells Angels.

But in stark contrast to their interstate counterparts, who tore down fences with bulldozers and yesterday called in the army to assist in its bikie war, SA police used a search warrant to gain entry into the former Finks' HQ - as has been their usual practice.

The Mongols, a gang notorious for its deadly war with the Hells Angels, has hammered out a deal with the Finks that has seen members unite under the Mongols banner.

The Sunday Mail spoke to several Mongols members impatiently pacing in front of the compound as the raid took place, one who for the first time, confirmed the Finks gang had patched over to become the Mongols in SA.

Several gang members were wearing the distinctive black T-shirts, with the distinctive Mongols' character riding a chopper.

One gang member was sporting a fresh Mongol tattoo on his cheek.

The tattoo was in stark contrast to the Finks tattoos on the knuckles of each hand - that are more than likely set to be lasered off.

"This is the Mongols," the gang member, who did not identify himself, said.

"This (police raids) happens all the time."

The Sunday Mail understands other premises were also searched by police yesterday, including the southside headquarters of the Finks - a tattoo parlour on Brighton Rd, Seacliff - and private residences of gang members.

In a twist, tradesman working on the building's roof had to down tools shortly after 12.30pm when police and Star Group officers arrived.

Police declined to comment on their activities when contacted late yesterday.





VICTORIA: The army raided a Hells Angels property on Saturday, above, removing a truck in a continuation of an unprecedented blitz by more than 700 police officers who swooped on 60 properties, broke open gang strongholds, arrested gang members in their search for military-style weapons used in a recent spate of shootings.


Police, with help from the army, removed a truck from a bikie junk yard in Craigieburn, Melbourne. Picture: Chris Scott

Police, with help from the army, removed a truck from a bikie junk yard in Craigieburn, Melbourne. Picture: Chris Scott Source: News Limited


QUEENSLAND: The Government has launched an unprecedented crackdown on organised crime after a massive brawl involving up to 60 people on the Gold Coast last month. Premier
Campbell Newman has funded more police on the beat and promised tougher laws to give the state's crime watchdog more power to call in and question gang members.

NEW SOUTH WALES: In September police shutdown clubhouses of the
Comancheros and Hells Angels and in May high-ranking bikie gang
members were arrested after hundreds of police officers launched dawn raids across Sydney. and Wollongong.