Friday September 6 2013
– A national taskforce that has cut off at the knees Australia’s largest outlaw bikie gang may take aim at the other “big three” clubs and effectively bypass shaky state anti-association laws.
The Attero Taskforce has arrested or reported about 700 members and associates of the Rebels since February, issuing about 1200 charges. The club is thought to have up to 1500 members in Australia.
The Rebels will hold their national run in Perth this weekend, with about 200 members and associates expected to leave from Melbourne on Friday morning .
Perth police said security would be the tightest in the city since the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2011.
The taskforce, established by the Australian Crime Commission, may become a template for battling bikie gangs including the Bandidos, Hells Angels and Comancheros, senior investigative officer Detective Superintendent John De Candia said.
He said there had never been more intelligence shared between agencies about a bikie gang and that a range of investigative techniques had revealed the reach of the Rebels.
The Rebels have eight chapters and about 112 members in Victoria.
“The Rebels have become a large group with a footprint around the country,” Superintendent De Candia said. “They like to make what they probably perceive to be easy money, but that comes…at a risk to them and the club provides the backing.”
He said the taskforce found no evidence rival gangs had considered a temporary alliance to unseat the Rebels or that a turf war would erupt as clubs tried to exploit the Rebel’s weakened position.
About 40 guns and drugs were seized and the Tax Office has recovered about $1.7 million owed by Rebels members and associates. State and territory governments have seized about $1 million and 300 warrants have been executed.
Superintendent De Candia said while anti-association laws can crack down on bikie gangs, the Taskforce could battle them on several fronts and Attero’s success could be replicated to tackle other gangs.
State legislation generally allows court orders banning members from associating or gang activities, including riding together and wearing club colours and emblems, once the group has been declared illegal. “There’s no silver bullet that’s going to solve the issue,” Superintendent De Candia said.
Bikie gangs had become savvy about using charity runs to improve their image and were desperate to portray themselves as nothing more than motorcycle enthusiasts, he said. “Regardless of how many activities they choose to put on pretending they’re just a bunch of blokes that get around on motorbikes, it couldn’t be further from the truth. No amount of money that they donate to charity on any one particular day can cover the misery they cause on all the other days of the year.”
– Niño Bucci