Hell's Angels refused permit for gang raffle
A list of pending charges including possession, supply and conspiracy to deal class A drugs, robbery, burglary, and past convictions for drug offences, money laundering, theft, manslaughter and wounding with intent have persuaded the Gambling Commission that the Hell's Angels Nomads can't be trusted to run a raffle.
Despite a sworn affadavit from University of Canterbury academic Jarrod Gilbert that the Angels could be relied upon to "play a clean game", the commission has denied an appeal from the motorbike gang against a Department of Internal Affairs' decision to refuse them a Class 4 Gaming Licence.
The gang had planned to run a fundraising raffle among friends and associates. Among the arguments tabled by the gang at a hearing last month – but only released last week – was that their parent club, Hell's Angels, had been permitted to run raffles in the past, and that the commission should find them unsuitable to run a raffle only if they had dishonesty offences against their names.
But the department tabled extensive evidence mustered from Organised and Financial Crime New Zealand.
That intelligence noted the Angels vice-president and treasurer, not named in the decision ruling, was facing charges of possession, supply and conspiracy to deal methamphetamine, and had convictions relating to cannabis cultivation, assault and wilful damage.
Since the original decision, the man was now facing further charges of aggravated robbery, burglary and participating in an organised criminal group.
OFCNZ also reported the raffle's supposed organiser had a manslaughter conviction, and that they suspected he was merely a front, and the man they believed would be in charge was a bankrupt with convictions for drug offences, money laundering, theft and receiving who also faced fresh charges.
The Angels' submission said "unsuitability couldn't be presumed from those convictions alone ... it was not a proper inference to say that a person with a conviction for violent offending was more likely than another randomly selected person to cause harm through gambling activities".
Gilbert, who wrote his PhD on motorbike gangs, told the Star-Times he believed the Angels would run a fair raffle as they were known, in the gang world, as relatively honest and up front.
"It will sound ironic to many, but within their sphere, the Hell's Angels are a highly principled group," he claimed.
"It will sound odd, but in the dealings their members do, whether legal or illegal, they pride themselves on honesty.
"What's more, running a raffle is a legal means to fundraise, and they are selling tickets to friends and associates.
"You wouldn't run too many raffles if you were ripping them off."