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Foley: We need to stomp on these gangs

has been had his chance, it didn't work, and he still wont shut up?

bikie gangs

Representatives from the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Rebels, Finks, God Squad, Black Uhlans and Lone Wolf bikie gangs.

Five months jail for bashing a police officer? Its not good enough, writes Kevin Foley.


THE jailed Fink will no doubt wear this laughable punishment as a badge of honour.AS a former police minister, I retain a keen interest in how government deals with criminal bikie gangs. These people are pure evil.

It's my view they must continue to be legally attacked with great force.

Two events this week have prompted this week's topic. Firstly, the NSW Parliament passed redrafted anti-bikies legislation, necessary after the High Court ruled the first attempts of both SA and NSW at cracking down on these violent criminal gangs as unconstitutional. It was the second that really got my blood boiling, the sentencing in Adelaide of a Finks gang member to five months prison for twice bashing an on-duty uniformed police officer. What a joke.

The jailed Fink will no doubt wear this laughable punishment as a badge of honour. Jail time is a requirement to prove you are worthy as a fair dinkum patched member of a gang.

In our State Parliament new legislation to attack and severely disable a criminal bikie gang's ability to operate is being debated. These laws are consistent with the NSW Liberal Government's and I urge all MPs regardless of their politics to pass these new laws and to do so quickly.

These new laws in effect will treat criminal gangs in a similar manner to how we deal with terrorists. Bikie gangs are every bit as frightening as organised terror groups. They are violent, intimidating killers and, among their criminal activities, push deadly drugs at our young.

Under the proposed new laws, if a judge rules that a bikie gang is a declared criminal organisation, members of that gang face up to 15 years imprisonment if they continue as an active member. It will also be illegal for a member of the public to knowingly be in the company of a gang member. New offences will be created to damage the gang's ability to function and witnesses will be given encouragement to testify and increased protection.

Those who would cry foul at such laws stomping on the civil liberties of these criminals should share that opposition with the police officer who was punched twice, the parents of a child addicted to the drugs these gangs peddle, or to the bystanders caught up in their shoot-outs.

We quite rightly should be worried about what lies ahead, if we don't stomp on these gangs now.

Last year as police minister, I accompanied Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Burns to see how US police forces were dealing with organised crime. LA Police's gangs taskforce briefing was enlightening and frightening. The area known as LA City has a population of only 3.5 million, even though the greater LA area is home to nearly 20 million. In LA City alone there are 55,000 registered street gang members, dozens of criminal bikie gangs and now the Mexican mafia is moving into California in a rapid, alarming manner.

We in Australia were warned to watch out for the rapidly expanding Vagos motorcycle gang, which is spreading to all parts of the US and intends to expand globally.

This gang was reported last year as one of the "most violent criminal motorcycle gangs" by US authorities; its members are accused of suspicion of murder, rape, weapons violations, money-laundering and drug violations. Hopefully we'll never see Vagos set up here but if they were to arrive we would want every law possible to deal with them.

We should, as a community, act with urgency and overwhelming strength of law and resolve, just as the Liberal Government is doing in NSW, and ensure we never have to fear the shootings, bashings, killings and drug peddling that has become a bikie gang's stock in trade.

I believe we should ignore the pleas of those that mistakenly believe there is good in everyone, or those who want civil liberties above all. There are some, who by their own actions, surely forfeit their rights.


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