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Police told: take their bikes and badges to halt cycle of violence

February 21, 2009

THE escalating bikie war in NSW should be ended by having police strip the club members of symbols of their identity, an authority on the outlaw motorcycle gang culture says. 

Professor Arthur Veno, of Monash University, said police should punish the clubs responsible for the spate of tit-for-tat violence by confiscating their bikes, clubhouses and badges.

“The crux of the matter is for the club to lose its identity and being, and thus the members have no ‘honour’ to protect by engaging in public or private wars,” said Professor Veno, the author of The Brotherhoods: Inside The Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs and the forthcoming Biker Chicks: The Magnetic Attraction Of Women To Big Motorcycles And/Or Bad Boys.

There have been at least 19 incidents of bikie violence in NSW in the past year, culminating in the February 4 bombing of a Hells Angels clubhouse in Crystal Street, Petersham.

Late last week, police arrested two bikies in Milperra and found a loaded gun, a laser sight and seven detonators in their vehicle.

Professor Veno opposed emulating South Australia’s anti-bikie laws, which ban membership of clubs declared to be criminal gangs.

“The police should go in there and kick some arse. They need to seize assets and clubhouses,” he said. “And the bikies need to be told that if they fail to stop the war with the clubs involved the big blue gang [police] confiscates everything. They lose their club.”

Police said defection of bikies from one club to another – known as “patching over” – was one reason for the current violence. “[Our] investigations suggest the conflicts could be due to a number of factors, including competition over turf or illicit drug supply or patching over of members,” gangs squad commander Detective Superintendent Mal Lanyon said.

Professor Veno said the loss of riding rules was behind the clubs’ move into criminal activities, such as making and distributing drugs.

“The older-style clubs still have the riding rules,” he said. “You must put in X kilometres a year and your motorcycle must be in running condition during riding season. Those two rules keep the criminal element out of the clubs. As they have dropped the riding rules, the criminals have entered.”

This is highlighted by the emergence of “Nike bikies”, who wear white sneakers and fashionable T-shirts, and are clean-shaven, instead of sporting the traditional boots, dirty vests and bushy beards. Police said the new club at the heart of the current war, Notorious, was made of many Nike bikies.

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