Restaurants on Nobby Beach strip suspected
of being torched by Gold Coast bikie gang running extortion
Paul Weston and Lexie Cartwright,
Gold Coast Bulletin
BIKIES have begun targeting
licensed Gold Coast restaurants in an extortion racket which has
surfaced after a beachfront retail strip was torched.
Several police and bikie sources
have confirmed the fire which gutted two businesses and damaged four
others at Nobby Beach about 2am on July 2, involved gang members.
The Bulletin has learned the Hells
Angels on the eve of VLAD laws being removed have returned to the
strip between Mermaid Beach and Burleigh where they once had a
A bikie source told the Bulletin:
“It is all about who will control Nobby Beach through to Burleigh.
It was the same discussion before VLAD laws came in.
“This area is seen as the new
Broadbeach. One of the businesses didn’t want to pay the money. They
“It was originally Black Uhlans
territory, then the Hells Angels took over and then no sooner than
they were there we had VLAD and they were booted out of Lemana Lane
(at Burleigh Heads).”
A police source revealed the fire
occurred after one of the business owners, when approached by Hells
Angels bikies, had refused to pay protection money.
Another police source confirmed
that in the past few months “bikies are starting to come back into
the precinct and are resorting to serious extortion again”.
“That particular incident is still
being investigated but I think you can connect the dots.
“It’s very rare a fire just
Police in a statement confirmed
the blaze was suspicious but would not say whether their leads
“Investigations are still being
conducted to determine the exact cause of the fire. As the matter is
presently under investigation this is all the information that can
be released at this time,” police said.
Bikies boast about getting at
least $30,000 in protection payments which sees them provide
security around premises and successfully control the drug trade.
They say the money is so good on
the Coast that “it’s hard to turn your back on it”.
“Small businesses are being
extorted every day. You wouldn’t believe it,” a Bandidos source
“It’s not happening in dodgy
“It’s happening at local
restaurants and coffee shops now.
“It’s never stopped, it’s just
gotten more brazen over the past few months.”
The links between the fire and
bikie gangs first surfaced in comments posted online after a short
Bulletin report about the overnight blaze.
“We absolutely need to keep the
pressure on bikies. Don’t give them an inch. Shame on Labour (sic)
for going easy on crime,” a resident wrote.
Several business owners approached
yesterday near the gutted shops were reluctant to discuss the fire
but referred the Bulletin to Facebook comments.
“Everyone is talking about it. We
all have our own theories,” a long term trader said.
Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens said
he was not aware of businesses being threatened but predicted
intimidation and standover tactics by bikies would return once the
VLAD laws were removed.
“It’s a sad indictment of the
current government in this state even contemplating the watering
down of effective bikie laws to rid these germs from the state,” Mr
Burleigh MP Michael Hart, after
speaking to several restaurant owners, said he had found they were
concerned about the bikies returning.
“They are seeing an increase in
bikies with colours but because of the present laws they think they
are not attending their premises or giving them any grief,” Mr Hart
“If they change the law, we will
be right back where we were and they are scared about that.”
The blaze is the first real
evidence of bikie warfare since the Bulletin in December last year
revealed the gangs had returned to the Coast, after two Finks armed
with baseball bats bashed a Hells Angels member in the ritzy Varsity
Lakes restaurant precinct.