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Backlash from bikies' Coast meet

Melissa Townsend, Robyn Wuth and Ben Dillaway   |  June 28th, 2010



Finks in Orchid Avenue ... just a quiet beer with a few mates. Pic: Jay Nel-McIntosh

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THE arrival of more than 70 bikies into the Gold Coast at the weekend has sparked a political backlash about government administrative delays over anti-bikie laws passed through State Parliament more than six months ago.

The convoy of members from the Finks, Black Uhlans, Highway 61, Lone Wolves and Odins Warriors roared into Surfers Paradise on Saturday night to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang, leaving tourists afraid, despite the strong police presence.

Under the anti-bikie laws passed last November, police have the power to secretly apply to the court to have bikie gangs declared criminal organisations so control orders can then be issued against members.

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But the Criminal Organisation Public Interest Monitor, who must attend closed hearings for applications to ensure police do the right thing, has not yet been appointed, effectively putting use of the legislation in limbo.

In May, the State Government told the Bulletin an appointment was expected within weeks, but when questioned about the delay, Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick issued a written statement saying the appointment of the COPIM was imminent.

No timeframe was provided.

State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek came out swinging yesterday, saying the government's procrastination was unacceptable.

"There's no excuse for them not having done it. The last thing Gold Coasters want to see is a recurrence of something like the Ballroom Blitz at the Royal Pines," he said.

"These laws aren't being enforced at the moment so they're worthless.

"There's a public perception about safety issues in Surfers Paradise that's exacerbated by these bikie gangs that are clearly associated with illegal activities.


"It's a very fragile environment that we're operating post the financial crisis and the last thing we need is this sense of menace in the middle of our tourism strip."

On Saturday night, a massive police presence kept a close watch, but did not interfere in the anniversary ride.

A senior police source said the Gold Coast handled the situation reasonably well, but the officer understood the public's concern.

"It is certainly not ideal to have large groups of people like this wandering throughout an area, however there is nothing police can do about it unless the government chooses to act," said the source.

Despite the relatively well-behaved visit, the presence in the tourism hub of the bikies did nothing for the city's image.

English tourists Carly Robertson and Liz Toni, both 21, arrived on the Gold Coast on Saturday morning and were unimpressed to be confronted with 80 bikies on their first day.

"When you see so many of them walking through the streets together, it makes you wonder if the Gold Coast is a safe place," said Ms Robertson.

"I didn't expect that here, especially so soon after we arrived."

Ms Toni said: "I was a bit scared. There's nothing like this in London."

Meanwhile, Gold Coast Superintendent Jim Keogh wished to clarify the context in which a photograph was captured of him laughing with a bikie member.

He said the bikie had commented on the number of police in town, and he warned him that police would outmatch the bikies any day.


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