With bikies in the news, RALPH.com.au’s Larkin Harrison conducts a special report on Australia’s most dangerous outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Recent Australian Crime intelligence reckon 3500 fully patched members represent more than 35 clubs. A source claims there are nearly 20,000 associates and nominees.
The most dangerous gangs include The Rebels with 2000 members. There are also the Gypsy Jokers, Coffin Cheaters, Bandidos, The Black Uhlans and the Finks described as the most disorganised but most violent, according to Professor Arthur Veno, author of The Brotherhoods.
Though disputed by most bikie clubs, the National Crime Authority has reported that the main source of income for bikie gangs is the importation of firearms, dealing amphetamines and pot, counterfeiting, tax evasion, extortion, money laundering and trafficking in stolen goods. And former Bandidos insider and police informant Steve Utah, now in hiding, says he was even involved in wildlife smuggling.
Bikie gangs consequently fight for control to conduct business in their territory and violence even extends to women, historic gang differences, inner-club politics and personal feuds.
Estimated members: 120-150*
Territory: Chapters in WA, Vic, SA and NSW.
Violence: In 1994, 15-20 Jokers severely bashed an Adelaide publican and waiter. Minh Van Pham was beaten unconscious and permanent injuries included intellectual impairment and memory loss.
- In 1984, Jokers waged a two-year war with the Comancheros.
- WA’s former chief detective Don Hancock and his mate were blown up by a car bomb in 2001, planted by a Gypsy Joker.
Death: In 2000, Gypsy Joker Billy Grierson was shot by a sniper in Kalgoorlie and there were allegations that Don Hancock was the shooter.
Estimated members: 200-300*
Territory: Three chapters in Perth, two chapters in Vic, two in NSW and two in QLD. Plus there’s three Norwegian chapters.
Violence: In the 1970s, five Cheaters were convicted of raping a rival club president’s girlfriend.
- In 1976, the Cheaters nearly beat two Resurrected members to death and raped the president’s 19-year-old girlfriend. Six members were convicted of assault, burglary, wounding, theft and rape.
- In 2000, a court heard that Cheater Mark Hinchcliffe convinced his wife to murder her lover Michael Wright.
Deaths: A Cheater tried to attack three girls hiding in the closet and was shot dead by an 18-year-old girl .
- In 1998, Cheater Mark Chabriere was blasted to death in Perth.
Notorious (bikies without bikes, who are known to wear T-shirts and Nike shoes )
Estimated members: approximately 24-30. Made up of mostly Pacific Islanders and Middle Eastern men from Sydney’s West. Members are senior former members of the now-defunct Nomads Parramatta chapter.
Violence: In March of this year, a solicitor who had represented members of Notorious had a gun held to her head in bed, while intruders ransacked her house.
-Last week, it was alleged that jailed Notorious members punched on with a jailed Bandito in Sydney’s Parklea prison.
Deaths: In 2008, Todd O'Connor, a former Nomads bikie who was said to have been a founding member of the Notorious gang, was shot dead in a Sydney back street. Another ex-Nomads bikie who switched allegiance to Notorious was the victim of a car bombing in Sydney’s North Shore.
Estimate members: 80-100
Territory: Three chapters in Sydney.
Violence: In 1983, the Comancheros called a meeting with the Loners motorcycle club to call a truce. Instead, the Loners were met by two carloads of Comancheros and beaten and forced to surrender their club emblems.
- In 1984, the Comancheros and Bandidos were involved in the Milperra massacre, a bloody shoot-out on Father’s Day which left seven people dead, including two Bandidos and an innocent 14-year-old girl.
- In March 2009, it was reported that the Comancheros were responsible for bashing the brother of a Hells Angels member to death with a metal bollard at Sydney airport. Four men have been charged over the brawl.
Deaths: In 1999, the tortured body of Commanchero Peter Ledger was dumped at his estranged wife’s Sydney home. Comanchero ‘Sergeant-at-Arms’ Ian Raymond Clissold was jailed for manslaughter over Ledger’s death
- A total of four Comancheros died during the Milperra massacre.
Estimated members: 250 -400 nationally and 2000 – 2500 worldwide.
Motto: F–k the world. We are the people our parents warned us about.
Territory: A total of 24 chapters in NSW, Qld, SA and Vic. Worldwide, there’s chapters in Europe, North America and Asia.
Violence: In 1995, Cairns bouncer Jason Tyler was allegedly lured from a nightclub to the Bandidos clubhouse and shot in the leg. A sock was stuffed down his throat and he was kicked to death.
- In 2000, drug runner and Bandidos associate Milad Sande, cousin of Danny Sande, the president of the Blacktown Bandidos chapter, was allegedly murdered on the orders of a senior Bandido, according to Dead Man Walking.
Deaths: In 2001, Kurri Kurri Bandidos president Rodney Partington was killed when a bomb blew up in his hands at a Gypsy Jokers compound.
- Former Bandido Russell Oldham, the prime suspect in the point-blank shooting murder of Bandidos Sydney president Rodney Monk, put a gun to his head in knee-deep surf in Sydney’s Balmoral Beach.
- Bandidos Sergeant-at-Arms, Sasha Milenkovic and two fellow Bandidos members were shot dead execution-style by two Rebels members in the basement of a Sydney nightclub in 1997.
- In 1984, two Bandidos died in the bloody Milperra massacre.
Estimated members: 150-250 including their Nomad allies and 2000-2500 members worldwide.
Territory: Charters in Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Internationally, there’s chapters in North America, South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and New Zealand. Nomads
Motto:: Three can keep a secret if two are dead.
Violence: - In 2006, five Hells Angels barged their way into a Kings Cross nightclub. After a bouncer questioned them, he copped a bullet, as did a woman waiting in line.
- In 2006, Angels and Finks fought at a kickboxing tournament on the Gold Coast among 1600 spectators. Christopher Wayne Hudson, who had defected from the Finks to the Angels, was shot in the throat, stomach and back, while two other Angels were stabbed.
- In 2007, Hudson fired six rounds of ammunition from a handgun at his model girlfriend Kaera Douglas and two bystanders who came to her aid. One bystander died at the scene. Hudson received a life.
- Last month, Angels member Peter Zervas was shot in the shoulder, chest, abdomen and foot. A police source has alleged that the shooting was orchestrated by the Comancheros.
- This month, Hells Angels have put a $100,000 contract on Comancheros president Mick Hawi after his alleged involvement in the Sydney airport brawl.
- Hells Angel leaders from the US have ordered their Australian club to restore the gang's tough reputation by shooting at any rival Comanchero member "on sight".
Deaths: In 1998, Hells Angel David Newham was murdered in Sydney in a drive by shooting.
- Last month, Angels associate Anthony Zervas was blugeoned to death by metal bollards at Sydney Airport, allegedly by members of the Comancheros.
Estimated members: 2000 members; they’re said to be Australia’s largest bikie gang.
Territory: Estimated to be 70 chapters across Australia.
Violence: Bandidos Sergeant-at-Arms, Sasha Milenkovic and two fellow members were all shot dead execution-style by two Rebels in a Sydney nightclub in 1997.
- In 1997, the Rebels were linked to the shooting death of housewife Jane Thurgood Dove, who was chased and shot in front of her children at her home. The real target of the hit was another blonde woman in the same street.
- In 2000, a Rebels nominee was charged with the murder of a couple in the ACT.
Deaths: 1999 was an especially brutal year for the Rebels: three members were shot dead in an Adelaide ambush; former Rebel Sergeant-at-Arms Paul William Wheeler disappeared; and Rebel Paul Summers died in a machine-gun ambush while asleep at the Rebels’ clubhouse in Gosford, NSW.
- In 2001, convicted amphetamine dealer and Rebels associate Terry Falconer was abducted while on day-release from Silverwater prison and his dismembered remains were found in a river.
- Last month, two senior Rebels members were shot dead in Canberra, with a long-time Rebels member claiming shootings were a result from a bitter love triangle.
Sources: The Brotherhoods by Arthur Veno (based on estimates)