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Last updated 09:30 23/04/2011
DARREN PATEMAN/Newcastle Herald
Northland police have warned the public not to be fooled into thinking an Australian motorcycle gang trying to set up in New Zealand is a bunch of nice guys who want to help young people.
The Australian Rebels Motorcycle gang was expected to run a recruiting drive in Northland today with a motorcycle run from Whangarei to Paihia or Kerikeri.
Police said they would try to give the impression they wanted to help troubled youth.
''They are a bunch of violent thugs that are here for the methamphetamine and cannabis trade and that is the bottom line,'' said Whangarei area commander Inspector Paul Dimery.
He said the gang would be closely monitored by police.
Dimery said the gang wanted people to believe they were doing good work.
''They are attempting to portray themselves as a charitable organisation. They are trying to give the impression that they are really nice people, that they are here for the youth.
''In that respect I probably couldn't argue with them. I think they are here to get the youth but to lead them into a life of crime.
''They are just an organised crime entity. There is nothing redeeming about them.''
Dimery said they were not wanted in New Zealand and had been told that.
''They are not very happy with us and the attention we are giving them already but at the end of the line we have got a really good community and we don't want them here.''
He said the message to the public was simple: ''Don't be fooled by them and if you have any concerns contact us and we will deal with it.''
He said the gang would try to tell people the police were ''being mean to them and we have got them all wrong and it was harassment of an organisation that was trying to do really good things''.
Meanwhile, a dangerous Rebels gang member is still on the run in south Auckland and police have repeated their warning for the public to stay away from him.
Duane David Wilson has been on the run for several days after police found guns and chemicals used to make methamphetamine at his home last week.
Wilson was not home when police found a shotgun, a loaded, cut down .22 rifle and an air rifle.
Police said they also found paraphernalia from the Rebels gang, which they believe was trying to establish a foothold in New Zealand.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said last week the police and the community did not want the gang here. The gang was the target of a number of police raids earlier this year, aimed at breaking the gang's foothold.
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