March 04, 2018

Surf Coast town tries, but fails to lock out Hells Angels bikies

Residents, businesses and police in the popular Great Ocean Road town of Lorne have been engaged in a game of cat and mouse with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.

The Age understands about 60 of the motorcycle gang’s members, plus their families, have booked accommodation at a hotel in Lorne for the upcoming St Patrick’s Day weekend.

It is understood the hotel accepted the booking after police advised them not too. A number of other hotels in the town accepted bookings but then cancelled the gang’s reservation on the instruction of police.
The popular Great Ocean Road town of Lorne will play host to 60 Hells Angels members and their families on St Patrick's Day weekend.

The Grand Pacific hotel, where the gang and their families are booked, has facilities to cater for functions or conferences of up to 200 guests. One local from a nearby business, who wished to stay anonymous, said the gang's members and their family had organised a dinner at the hotel. Most locals contacted were already aware of the Hells Angels St Patrick’s Day visit.

Police would not officially confirm the location of the gathering or whether the meeting was the Hells Angel’s annual general meeting. Police sources at this stage believe the meeting is just a "gathering" and not the motorcycle gang's AGM. However those sources would not rule out the possibility it was an AGM or an important meeting, saying the Hells Angels preferred to operate much more covertly of late.

A Victoria Police statement said police were "aware that a number of Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members are on the move in Victoria".
"Local police and Taskforce Echo members, along with SA, TAS, ACT, NSW police and AFP (National Anti-Gangs Squad and Canberra) will closely monitor the ride and will take swift action to detect and disrupt any OMCG members who commit crimes, road safety or public order offences," the statement read.
"Victoria Police will continue to work with other agencies as part of a national approach to OMCG enforcement."

Despite the police saying they would "closely monitor the ride" it is understood the Hells Angels have indicated they would not travel to Lorne on their motorcycles or in their colours.

Management for The Grand Pacific Hotel said they would not comment on private functions held at the accommodation. The historic hotel is located about a kilometre from the centre of Lorne's main shopping strip.

In 2015 there were fears of a Hells Angel’s AGM being held in Mount Gambier, South Australia. The meeting did not go ahead. Local residents and business people said there had been a motorcycle gang meeting in Lorne several years ago.
The police, local hotels and bikies played a similar game of cat and mouse when trying to book accommodation on that occasion. Eventually the gang – not the Hells Angels – set up camp on the grass reserve near the Lorne Surf Live Saving Club.

There was little, if any, trouble. Local police at the time, who had fewer resources than they do now, allowed the motorcycle gang to camp on the reserve for the weekend despite camping not usually being allowed.

Australia - BN.

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