Police have claimed that a joint-agency operation has targeted and disrupted activities of Hells Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang members in the Northern Rivers region.
But those involved in the ‘Good as Gold’ charity run from Brisbane to New South Wales at the weekend have criticised the police operation, saying the 97 riders came from a range of motorcycle clubs, and the run had been taking place for 26 years, with this year’s run raising money for the Smith Family Charity.
After leaving the clubhouse of the God Squad in Brisbane on Saturday, the riders were subjected to vehicle inspections and drug and alcohol tests. They were warned they would face similar attention in NSW if there were any members of an outlaw motorcycle group on the ride.
They were stopped again at Woodenbong in NSW by a large contingent of police who conducted 70 random breath tests, 30 drug tests and 69 bike and persons searches.
A prohibited weapon was seized and, 21 defects and 50 traffic infringement notices were issued.
A 40-year-old man was issued a Future Court Attendance Notice for offensive language.
One of the riders, Michael Parr, a member of the Veterans Motorcycle Club in Brisbane, accused the police of heavy-handed tactics.
Video footage shows Mr Parr being shoved by a member of the anti-bikie group, Raptor, after being told to move his motorbike.
In a blog post about the confrontation, Mr Parr said police detained the riders for two hours in high temperatures, refusing requests for water and the toilet.
He said the police defected numerous bikes for the most minor defects which meant the riders were unable to continue.
One of the bikes defected was a brand new Harley Davidson which had been loaned to the president of the Hells Angels Brisbane chapter for the day.
‘According to the police they were acting under orders from the NSW Commissioner of Police that “no motorcycle rides organized by any 1 per cent club would be tolerated”.
‘The Social Club riders were told that “if you ride with a 1%er you will be treated like a 1%er “.
Mr Parr said one member was ‘aggressively shoved against a police vehicle and threatened with arrest because he needed to go to the toilet’.
‘He had repeated asked to go to the toilet and explained that he was a diabetic and needed to go to the toilet but the police officer said, “I don’t care, stay beside your bike”. Even when he said you can come with me if you are concerned. It was only when he then tried to go to the toilet did they intervene.’
In a NSW Police media release, Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen, Crime Manager for Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, said the joint operation was aimed to disrupt any potential criminal activity on the cross-border run.
‘The NSW Police Force will remain vigilant when it comes to the behaviour and activities of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, particularly when the safety of the community is at risk,’ Det Chief Inspector Cullen said.
‘Illegal activity will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with our partner agencies when necessary to target all levels of criminal activity.
‘These guys aren’t just misunderstood blokes who like to ride bikes together and raise money for charity. They’re often involved in serious criminal activity.
‘Any time OMCGs conduct these runs across the border they can expect this sort of reception.
Mr Parr responded saying ‘these were a group of social motorcycle riders who were deliberately targeted by both the NSW and QLD police as an attempt to intimidate the riding public not to associate with any 1%ers.
‘Who gave the police the right to threaten, intimidate and assault citizens not for anything they have done but for who they are? If I was a muslim and this occurred there would be a public outcry, but no, I’m just a returned serviceman who paid heavily for my service and am now on disability for the rest of my life because I believed in fighting against tyranny and for the human rights of the oppressed.
‘But because I object to baselessness of VLAD and it’s assault on our own country’s human rights, and I refuse to be told who I can and cannot associate with, for this, I am made the target for assualt by the NSW police.
‘If a 1%er breaks the law there are already all the laws available for the police to prosecute. These new laws, including the QLD Labour Government’s new anti-association laws which basically aim to ostracize members of any 1% club not because they have a criminal record but because of who they are, a member of a motorcycle club, are an affront to human rights and common decency.
‘The fact that our politicians are too afraid to repeal these laws reflects their lack of a true moral compass.’
The operation comprised of officers from Task Force Maxima, Strike Force Raptor, National Anti-Gangs Squad, NSW Traffic & Highway Patrol along with Tweed/Byron and Richmond Police Districts.