Click pic for original article interactive panel
BIKIES have spread their tentacles across Sydney and throughout NSW with more than 2000 people now identified as members of 21 outlaw motorcycle gangs.
And police have also told how bikies are diversifying their legitimate operations beyond the traditional tattoo parlours, smash repairers and earthmoving work into lucrative suburban gyms and nightclubs.
The Daily Telegraph today reveals the names of the gangs and where their 105 chapters are based. From throughout Sydney and along the entire NSW coast to Griffith in the Riverina and Nyngan in the Far West, the gangs have established a presence in virtually every major population centre.
But the bikies are not winning the war, with a special bikie-busting police strike force called Raptor - set up two years ago to target the gangs - busting 1300 bikies for everything from murder to illegal parking.
The hatred between the opposite sides of the law has resulted in some serious threats against police and some officers having special security arrangements in place at their homes.
"We know from sources and intelligence gathering they talk about and hate Raptor," gangs boss Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said.
Police are unashamed of how the squad operates, setting out to niggle, annoy and harass bikies and associates with "in your face policing".
They have issued 6000 traffic infringement notices in just 24 months leading to thousands of arrests and invaluable intelligence about bikie gangs and their associates.
Routine traffic stops have ended up with massive weapons and drug seizures.
Police are also calling on government departments to help shut down "legal" bikie operations.
Three weeks ago, Raptor used the Environmental Protection Agency and Climate Change Department officers to gain access to property owned by a Lone Wolfe bikie in Sydney's outer-west.
The bikie now faces fines of up to $1 million for polluting Crown land, illegal dumping of motor vehicles and a number of other offences.
Raptor also teamed with the Department of Fair Trading to raid a smash repair shop linked to the Rebels in Sydney's west last year.
The local chapter's sergeant of arms arrived as police were searching the workshop.
He was found to be unlicensed and was arrested.
The operators of the workshop were charged with failing to display business registration notices and other offences and fined nearly $1000.
"We aim to disrupt their businesses, legal or illegal in anyway," Supt Katsogiannis said.
Police are stopping bikies on a daily basis for anything and everything.
A Hells Angel in full colours riding a black Harley was pulled over last year and searched. "A black 45 semi-automatic pistol fully loaded with seven rounds of ammunition was found hidden down the front of his pants," Supt Katsogiannis said. "He was also unlicensed until 2012."
At Alexandria, police intercepted a car carrying two Hells Angels and an associate. A search revealed a loaded 38 calibre pistol cocked and ready to use under the front seat of the car. They also found a small amount of drugs and stolen credit cards.
"Another routine traffic stop of a bikie yielded 28kg of heroin, and another senior Hells Angel bikie was pulled up for speeding and an automatic pistol found in a bum bag," Supt Katsogiannis said.
The police will not say it publicly but they know the tactics infuriate the bikies.
Just last weekend, a Rebels bikie running late for the club's Bringelly to Canberra "run", was clocked doing 174km/h in a 60km/h zone on the M5 as he tried to catch up with his mates. He was left stranded by the side of the road after police stripped him of his licence on the spot.
A few hours later all 95 of his fellow Rebels were stopped, breath and drug tested.
Twenty traffic infringement notices, 10 defect notices and one criminal infringement notice for offensive language were issued. One rider returned a positive result to a drug test. Twenty notices were given for excessive noise.
So far 70 bikies have had their licences suspended. It's not very cool to be a bikie boss who can't ride with the pack.
"And they know if they try and drive unlicensed they will get arrested again and again," Supt Katsogiannis said. "They are being watched.
"It makes life very hard for them to go about their illegal activities."
Times are changing for the gangs. The traditional bikie, with fierce loyalty and territory boundaries has evaporated after an influx of members from Middle Eastern background.
"They now just go to where the money is so we are seeing a number of bikies 'patching over' to other clubs. In the old days the bikies were predominantly white anglos who would never do this type of thing."
Supt Katsogiannis said intelligence reports and arrests showed steroid use by gang members was on the increase.
"They deal and use the 'roids themselves," he said.
Bikies now have financial interests in suburban gyms, using them to launder money, distribute drugs and as meeting places.
Bulked-up bikies need their size for the gangs' intimidation and extortion activities.
"And it is why they are becoming more violent and unpredictable and pose a greater risk to the public and to the guys in Raptor."