Australian biker gangs a thorn in policing

Australian biker gangs a thorn in policing
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 02 45 PM IST
Updated: Fri, May 11 2007. 02 45 PM IST
Reuters
Sydney: Biker gang violence is escalating in Australia with groups such as the Nomads, Rebels, Commancheros and Bandidos waging violent turf wars involving drive-by shootings and firebombings, say police.
“Enough is enough,” said New South Wales state police commissioner Ken Moroney in a statement announcing a crackdown on what Australian police call Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG)
“We are fed up with bikie gangs launching acts of retribution on the streets . We will not allow public safety to be placed at risk and if bikies think they can disregard the law, they are about to find out otherwise,” said Moroney .
The Australian Crime Commission’s 2006 report there are 35 outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia, with 3,500 members. It said 10 gangs opened 26 new chapters in all six states last year.
A crackdown, named Strike Force Ranmore will involve officers from local, riot, traffic and licensing police, as well as specialist crime command squads, Moroney said.
It will carry out regular traffic checks on bikes, raid the gangs’ fortress-like clubhouses and check on gang licences to operate security and liquor businesses. Ranmore will also involve covert operations.
Moroney said he would recommend the state government pass laws similar to the anti-mafia racketeering laws in the United States, which would ban biker gang colours or insignia.
The crime report said gangs were becoming “more sophisticated and dynamic” and had “outwardly legitimate businesses”, including finance, transport, security, entertainment and construction.
It said gang members were involved in organised crime, murder, prostitution, arson, robbery, illicit drug supply and production, money laundering and bribery. Police also say that biker gangs control Australia’s methamphetamine trade.
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First Published: Fri, May 11 2007. 02 45 PM IST