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February 27, 2011
THE Hells Angels in Sydney have secured what may be the greatest mass defection in the history of the Australian outlaw clubs, recruiting at least 50 members from rival gangs.
Police fear the defections - involving at least three Bandidos chapters in NSW - may lead to a new war between bikie gangs. It could be the most significant event since the Comanchero split of 1982, which led to the Milperra massacre two years later when seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, were shot dead.
''We've had small numbers move around before but this number is unheard of,'' a senior law enforcement source told The Sun-Herald.
The underworld has been abuzz since a deal, apparently months in the making, was cemented 11 days ago. Between 50 and 60 men left the Bandidos and joined the Hells Angels.
It is understood the deal was organised by Felix Lyle, a rising force within the Angels and a former Bandido. Offers to defect and join the Angels were also made to other clubs.
Leaving one club for another is considered the most serious of transgressions and often leads to outbreaks of violence. It is believed the main motive for the deal was to bolster Angels numbers to provide a strong front against the Comanchero.
It may also be in response to the establishment of a chapter of another traditional Angels foe, the Mongols, on the central coast.
The clubs have been feuding since a Hells Angels tattoo parlour was firebombed by the Comanchero in 2008. The fatal airport brawl of March 2009 and subsequent shooting of Hells Angels member Peter Zervas were allegedly results of that.
It is understood Bandidos were paid to defect and all were granted full membership, which usually takes at least a year. Some got Harley-Davidson motorbikes as a reward.
Last week the Bandidos announced on their website: ''Chapter Parramatta is no longer part of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club Australia!!!''
The defection rumours were confirmed on Friday when Strike Force Raptor officers watched 20 to 30 former Bandidos meet at a Parramatta restaurant. Wearing Hells Angels T-shirts and other club gear, they were joined by several senior Hells Angels.
A law-enforcement source who has investigated outlaw clubs for decades said: ''If it was just one chapter that would be one thing but what's strange here is it's bigger than that.''
Police are concerned that the move also mirrors recent action in Europe. Last year 80 Bandidos defected to the Berlin Hells Angels.
The defections are indicative of a remarkable morphing of Australia's outlaw clubs. They have moved up several notches to form formed links with international syndicates suspected of organised crime. Some bikies are also involved in multimillion-dollar property developments with loans from Australia's top banks.
The Hells Angels have at least doubled their size overnight. With at least 110 members they are now the third-largest outlaw club in NSW, after the Comanchero and the Rebels.
In June police asked the NSW Supreme Court to declare the Hells Angels a criminal organisation.
But a source said the defectors ''couldn't care less. What do you think they really think about - getting a shitload of money or worrying about the cops arresting them in a week?''
■ The president of the new Hells Angels Parramatta chapter, former Bandido Mostafa Jouayde, was refused bail in Parramatta Local Court yesterday for allegedly breaching bail conditions that he not enter the Parramatta CBD except to work at his tattoo shop.
with Geesche Jacobsen