April 27, 2018

Tasmanian bikie gang involvement suspected in two unsolved murders, police say

Bikie gangs are suspected to be behind at least two unsolved murders in Tasmania, police say. The revelation comes as a former policeman and investigator says police are right to be concerned about bikie violence.

Tasmania is cracking down on outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMG) with police proposing a ban on the wearing of club colours in public and making it illegal for gang members to associate with each other or known criminals. (link is external)

While police will not provide specific details, they have issued a statement saying they have reason to suspect OMG involvement in at least two unsolved murders in Tasmania. They are also investigating a serious assault at the Tasmanian headquarters of the Rebels, during a national run last year. (link is external)

Police have made public for the first time allegations that a significant amount of blood was found inside the headquarters.

Police said the victim has disappeared and may remain unfound.
Duncan McNab, a former policeman and private investigator, is a true crime author who has written a book about OMGs. He said while not everyone who is a member of an OMG is a criminal, Tasmanian police are right to be concerned about violence, including drive-by shootings, murders and disappearances.
"Bikies, when they've got a problem with somebody ... tend to have one of two courses," Mr McNab said.
Bandidos members and their bikes in Burnie, northern Tasmania, November 2017.  
"They'll either publicly get rid of them, which happened in Sydney recently with the former head of the Commancheros, Mick Hawi, who was executed outside a gym in broad daylight. (link is external)
"That sends a very clear message."

Mr McNab said there have been other cases of unexplained disappearances.
"I remember working on a couple of cases up in Queensland ... people disappeared from clubhouses, never seen again. Out the door and that's the last they're ever heard of," he said.
"It's happened before and it will keep happening, that's the way these clubs work."

Mr McNab said while the occasional person was missing and presumed dead after involvement with an OMG, it was hard to quantify numbers because the victims' families often did not report the crime.
"Law enforcement are stymied because of a code of silence; firstly to find out if someone's gone missing and if someone has gone missing then to find out who was responsible and where they ended up," he said.

Nothing to fear: Bandidos

Grey Norman is the national liaison for the Bandidos motorcycle club, which has recently opened two chapters in Tasmania.
Bandidos spokesman Grey Norman.  
He said Tasmanians had nothing to fear from the Bandidos.
"We don't do drive-by shootings, it's not something we're known for," he said.
He said the local chapters were started because some young Tasmanian men wanted to be part of the club.
"These guys approached us, and said 'look, we've been hanging around together, we ride motorcycles, we like the way you roll, would you consider us being a part of your group'," he said.

Mr Norman said while there was genuine public concern about bikie violence based on previous clashes, police were whipping up hysteria. He said before setting up in Tasmania, the Bandidos had spoken with other motorcycle gangs to smooth the way and there was no imminent tension.
"There's definitely no merit in the suggestion that there's imminent conflict in Tasmania," he said.
"Times are changing, it's important that matters are brought to the table.
"If we have a problem with someone or if they have a problem with us, the first option is bring it to the table. Nine times out of ten it can be resolved."
Mr Norman said the Bandidos also had a code of conduct and ethics.


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