Violent Balkan members of Bandidos behind surge in bikie violence in Queensland
From: The Courier-Mail
May 14, 2012
A RENEGADE clique of bikies who grew up during Yugoslavia's bloody civil war has emerged as provocateurs in a burst of outlaw-motorcycle-club-related violence in Queensland.
The volatile young turks - part of a divisive new chapter of the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle club that includes members who don't even ride bikes - are suspected of firing the opening salvos in a spate of public skirmishes that put bikie violence back on the political radar.
This cadre of Balkan Bandidos came to police attention after a vicious group assault on a couple which left furniture smashed and blood on the floor in front of startled patrons of a Mt Gravatt restaurant last month.
Police seized CCTV footage of the April 17 attack in Garden City shopping centre but the male and female victims, who became embroiled in an argument with three men before their attackers set upon them, declined to make official complaints.
The following week there was a string of attacks on bikie-owned businesses in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, including arson, drive-by shootings and brazen beatings in daylight by masked men with baseball bats.
Victims, including a tattooist who had both arms broken, again declined to make official complaints.
Sources said the Balkan Bandidos, welcomed into the club under the leadership of president Sava Cvetkovic, the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest , were testing traditional club hierarchy with their own brand of maverick violence.
This came as senior bikies were hoping for unity in the face of a looming legal battle with police over use of the controversial Criminal Organisation Act to stop key club members associating.
Like some of their Middle Eastern counterparts now active in clubs, the Balkans break the mould of the stereotypical hairy bikie with their clean-shaven appearance and minimal interest in motorbikes.
One source said at least three members of the Fortitude Valley-based "Centro" chapter of the Bandidos had military experience.
The psychological scars of war meant these men now had difficulties "following rules", the source said.
Among Mr Cvetkovic's business associates is a Bosnian-born man in his 20s who was charged over the gang rape of a Gold Coast teenager.
The man, who had the charges dropped but was separately convicted over the bashing of a man who had just been glassed in a nightclub, said longtime friends of his were Bandidos but he was not.
"My friends are Bandidos, yes. I've grown up with these people. I've known them for 15 years," he said.
When two of his associates were convicted over the "humiliating" pack rape, their lawyers cited their troubled childhoods - one having grown up in the civil war in Bosnia, the other in Kosovo where he saw his father savagely beaten by Serbian police.