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Heavy police presence as Gypsy Jokers bikies go north

Gypsy Jokers

A GROUP of Gypsy Jokers bikies take a break on their way to Kenilworth. Picture: Robyne Cuere Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

COUNTRY town residents in the Sunshine Coast hinterland were more shocked at the heavy police escort than the 100 or so members of the notorious Gypsy Jokers bikies gang heading north on an apparent recruitment drive.

Dozens of plain clothes police trailed more than 100km from the club's headquarters in Brisbane, through Landsborough, Maleny and along winding country roads to Kenilworth where they stopped for lunch.

Officers, detectives and bikies rubbed shoulders flitting in and out of the same cafes and stores, waiting for sandwiches and buying ice-creams and lemonade, in the intimate main street of town.

Plainclothed police even took some down time to pose for a group photo.

Police practically outnumbered the public, while Harley-Davidson bikes claimed most of the coveted carparks.

Residents said the police presence was "over-the-top" and a waste of public money as the Gypsy Jokers were "only out on a run".

Many were unconcerned at the bikies thundering into the quiet cheesemaking town, saying the police resources could be used elsewhere.

However some businesses lost customers who quickly cleared out when the bearded blokes arrived.

Cops - made up of State Crime Operations Command (including Taskforce Hydra), State Traffic Branch, the Public Safety Response team as well as regional officers, said they would continue tailing the group while it was in Queensland for its national run.

A spokeswoman said their escort was important for public safety, especially on the roads.

However they had no idea where the club was headed. One Gypsy Joker told The Sunday Mail they were going "north" yesterday.

Another told a local cafe operator they were on a recruitment drive in Queensland, where police believe they are trying to establish a foothold.

Police formed a procession of about 30 vehicles behind the bikes as they left Kenilworth about 4pm and headed north.

Read more:

Jokers keep police at bay

EVERYWHERE else they visited, the Gypsy Jokers' movements were closely monitored.

Police and members of the Gypsy Jokers chat on the Nicklin Way, in front of Kawana Shoppingworld.

Brett Wortman


EVERYWHERE else they visited, the Gypsy Jokers' movements were closely monitored.

But when a small group of the outlaw bikies hit the Sunshine Coast as part of their national run yesterday, it took police a while to track them down.

In fact, a spokesman initially said there was no information to suggest they were even here.

"And we certainly wouldn't report on their every move," the police media spokesman said.

All that changed by early afternoon, when police began receiving reports of sightings - firstly at Australia Zoo and later on the Nambour-Bli Bli Rd.

That sparked a call to police units to watch for the riders but not approach them.

By 2.20pm, the elusive bikies had still not been located, despite police checking popular watering holes in the area.

Ten minutes later, there were suggestions they were heading for Sunshine Plaza.

Then it was Mooloolaba via Alexandra Headland.

But somehow they remained elusive, dropping off the radar until 5pm when police stopped a group of about eight riders on the Nicklin Way, in front of Kawana Shoppingworld.

RBT, drug-testing, licence and registration checks soon followed as police units continued to arrive, until witnesses said there were more blue uniforms than leather jackets.

There were no reports of any riders being charged and witnesses said the situation seemed amicable.

"They seemed friendly enough," one witness said.

It was all a far cry from earlier in the day, when dozens of marked and unmarked police cars, 4WDs and motorbikes surrounded a group of about 80 Gypsy Jokers between their Everton Hills clubhouse and Dayboro.

Three members of the club were charged with drug-driving, triggering a tense stand-off between police and dozens of gang members.

Members are tipped to take to the roads en masse in the next few days.

The gang is active in most states but has only a small presence in Queensland, prompting police concerns the gang hopes to establish a foothold here.




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