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Finks bikies losing Gold Coast battle

Robyn Wuth   |  June 20th, 2010



Nick Forbes

THE once feared Finks outlaw bikie gang has died the death of a thousand papercuts on the Gold Coast.

A $300 fine for running a red light might not seem like much, but imagine being hit with 10 fines. Or 20. Or 50?

It adds up.

Every time the club puts a wheel out of line, the police are there.

Run a red light, done. Crossed double lines. Done. Rolled through a stop sign. Done.

Pretty soon you're unlicensed -- not good for a bikie.

It is the death of a thousand fines.

Most revellers might not have noticed, but the shadow that darkened the glitter strip is slowly being driven out as the police war on the outlaw motorcycle gangs is slowly, but surely, being won.

It has been a long time coming.

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It was only two years ago that things were very different on the streets of Surfers Paradise -- the lucrative jewel in the territory of notorious outlaw gang, the Finks.

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"Walter, mate . Your CAPS LOCK was so loud I couldnt hear what you said. An now I gotta headache."


The Finks ruled the streets and they wore their colours with pride.

They travelled together in packs and were an overt and menacing presence on the glitter strip.

It wasn't always that way.

Bikies have always been linked to drugs and violence but club insiders say that in the past decade, the Finks have changed.

Heavy recruiting brought new blood to the club and the young Finks were not content to follow their low-profile elders.

Perhaps the most high profile of the new breed was Tama Lewis, the so-called `MySpace bikie'.

Lewis breached the club's strict codes of privacy to boast about his life as an outlaw bikie on the social networking site, claiming he 'earned' $250,000 a year as a stand-over man.

His slogan read: "Don't play games with the ref, remember I make the rules."

And he was right.

The Finks were making the rules.

They were pictured in nightclubs, they courted publicity, they were pictured giving the media the finger and screaming abuse.

So attracted were they to the spotlight that the younger members started to contact the media to ensure they would be pictured as they defiantly turned themselves in to police.

So much for low profile.

Gold Coast's top cop Superintendent Jim Keogh said the younger members had their own agenda.

"They were young and they could see that there was money to be made and they wanted a part of it," he said. "The violence erupted within the club between the older members and the younger new guard."

Supt Keogh said some of the younger members did not share the love of Harley-Davidsons or high-speed motorcycles.

"They weren't in it for the bikes. Most of them didn't even own a motorcycle. It wasn't about that anymore. These guys are more interested in the commercial aspect of the club now," he said.

As the divide between old and new widened, the wheels started to fall off the Fink juggernaut in March 2006, during the very public `Ballroom Blitz' -- a wild melee between the Hells Angels and the Finks at the Royal Pines Resort ballroom.

Shots were fired, the bikies used fists, knives and furniture during the violent clash that left five people wounded and more than 1800 people fearing for their lives.

The public were stunned and demanded police take control.

Seven months later in September that year, police finally responded by launching Taskforce Hydra.

The taskforce was formed to 'disrupt and dismantle the gangs' and for the past four years, they have quietly been achieving their goal.

The biggest hit has been to the gang's hip pocket.

Police monitor the gangs' poker runs issuing hundreds of tickets.

At first the bikies maintained the rage -- defiantly riding through red lights and stop signs -- but not for long.

As the tickets mounted, bikies learned to toe the line.

Police said the last Hells Angels run through the Coast was 'incident free' and members were 'very well behaved'.

A nightclub owner said the Finks' presence in Surfers had been on the slide since the infamous Ballroom Blitz shoot-out.

"There has been no bikie presence for a long time. I suppose that's a good thing," he said.

"I hadn't even thought about it since the Ballroom Blitz. I'm not sure what the reasons are or why but I think it's a good thing."

Police are pleased with the results.

"The bikies are lying very low these days," said Supt Keogh.

"In Surfers Paradise we are not seeing them in their colours the way were were in the past.

"We have maintained a strong police presence in Surfers Paradise and a number of raids have proven to be very successful -- there are a number of Finks behind bars and that has certainly helped."

Among them are Shane Bowden, who taunted police while on the run in the wake of the Ballroom Blitz, the MySpace bikie Tama Lewis and Nick Forbes -- arrested after a series of brutal and random bashings in Broadbeach in January, 2008.

Supt Keogh said the arrest of Forbes was significant.

His brutal rampage with two other Fink associates left five people injured. Police arrested him as a tried to stomp on the head of one victim.

It was not his arrest, but the fact the assaults were captured on surveillance cameras that hit home.

The chilling footage steeled the public against the outlaw menace and police were again seen to score a major arrest.

"The fact is, Surfers Paradise is covered in CCTV," said Supt Keogh. "They've finally realised the precinct is being monitored and whatever they do will be caught on camera."

Meanwhile, Taskforce Hydra has continued to work quietly targeting the alleged criminal activities of the Finks.

Earlier this month, police nailed another Fink scalp after busting a Gold Coast drug lab syndicate accused of cooking up about $3 million worth of methamphetamine.

Dean 'Dino' Spizziri, Jason Hinton, Stephen Creighton and Kevin O'Hara faced the Southport Magistrates Court on charges which included producing and trafficking drugs.

Police allege last month's Beechmont raid netted 3.6kg of pure methamphetamine, which once mixed, could have be turned into about 15kg of street grade speed.

Mr Spizziri, 53, who has known links to the outlaw Finks Motorcycle Club, has been in custody since May.

Police sources are delighted to have brought the clubs in line.

"You never see them anymore. You don't see them in their colours, they don't ride around menacing the public. They are gone from the streets and that's a win," he said.

"Most of the Finks are behind bars -- you have to be happy with that -- and when they're out we'll make sure they toe the line."



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