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Gang hostilities between the
Filthy Few and the Greasy Dogs have erupted in Tauranga, culminating in a
street stand-off with weapons including softball bats, hammers and a shovel.
Police were alerted to rising tensions on Saturday morning when members of the Filthy Few motorcycle gang got into an altercation in Matapihi with a member of the Greasy Dogs - a Welcome Bay-based Maori gang.
Three hours later, at 3pm, the Greasy Dogs retaliated by arriving in numbers at the Filthy Few's headquarters in Birch Ave, Judea, where a stand-off took place on the street.
Western Bay of Plenty police area commander Inspector Mike Clement said 13 gang members were arrested following the Birch Ave stand-off, where weapons including softball bats, hammers and a shovel were allegedly brandished.
A further 12 Filthy Few members were arrested after police searched their gang pad later in the day.
All 25 arrested were charged with unlawful assembly and were to appear in Tauranga District Court today.
Some of the 12 Filthy Few members faced additional charges as a result of the police search, although police would not release details of the extra charges.
Witnesses to the stand-off flooded police with phone calls and 40 police swooped to stop members of the Greasy Dogs from leaving the area.
Firearms were not used at Birch Ave or
Mr Clement said gang violence and intimidation would not be tolerated in Tauranga and he warned members of the two gangs to solve their differences without using violence.
He said there was nothing to indicate the dispute was the result of a drugs turf war.
Police investigations were continuing and Mr Clement did not rule out further charges being laid.
During the search of the Filthy Few headquarters on Saturday, bullets were uncovered. Mr Clement said it was not a coincidence that the Filthy Few rode into Matapihi.
"I think they went there for a purpose.
"It was not a Saturday ride."
While there was no suggestion the Filthy Few were heading to a specific address, when they encountered the Greasy Dogs member, an "altercation" occurred at 11.30am.
Inquiries were continuing into the incident and what lay behind the sudden conflict between the two long-established gangs.
Police were alerted by Matapihi residents, alarmed at the unusual sight of the Filthy Few arriving in force into the rural peninsula.
Mr Clement said police intercepted the Filthy Few as they were leaving the peninsula and identified all 14 riders.
"Something sparked off the conflict between the two gangs and it escalated to the stage where they went tit-for-tat and we won't tolerate that. The police are going to take a hard line."
Mr Clement said police would be keeping a high profile in the Western Bay to prevent any further incidents between the gangs.
Police would also be working with councils, community groups, social agencies and iwi to help minimise the risk of future problems.
"We proactively police gang activities across the Western Bay... we won't hesitate to take further action and make additional arrests if we need to," he said.