Bikies’ Canberra profile grows as state laws impinge on gang activity

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OUR nation’s capital is becoming a mecca for Australian bikie gangs, who are descending on Canberra because of a lack of consorting laws.

In the past 18 months two new bikie clubs — the Comanchero and the Nomads — have set up in Canberra.

Their advance has threatened the powerbase of the Rebels, who were the sole outlaw motorcycle gang in the area for decades.

Rebels have two clubhouses in the ACT.

A Nomads business in Canberra was torched.

The Rebels are also now using Canberra as a defacto headquarters for their NSW operations, with senior chapter bosses meeting in the capital every three months.

The Daily Telegraph understands two of the major gangs have essentially divided the city in half by using Lake Burley Griffith as the boundary.

The Nomads have staked their territory on the south side of the lake and the Rebels hold power to the north.

The Comanchero float between the two districts.

The increase in bikies in Canberra coincides with the introduction of tough anti-consorting laws in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

Clubhouses across NSW are being shut down — either by the police or the gangs themselves because police are using the consorting laws to stop gatherings.

In March, the Comanchero bikie gang opened a new clubhouse in Canberra. Interstate bikies put a dozen Harleys on a truck rather than ride the NSW or Victorian highways and risk arrest for consorting.

The presence of three motorcycle gangs in Canberra has increased tensions.


The Rebels already have two clubhouses and the Nomads are in the process of establishing one.

“That we now have three OMCGs in the territory — the Rebels, Comanchero and Nomads — is concerning,’’ a spokesman for the ACT police said.

Since the trebling of the number of clubs in the area there has been a rise in tensions between the gangs.

Earlier this month a tattoo parlour run by the Nomads was torched. There have been a number of other less serious confrontations between the groups.

“While the level of activity by OMCGs is considered low in the ACT, this activity can pose a public safety risk through OMCG connections with criminal activity, violence and their ability to create fear and disruption in the community,’’ the spokesman said.

Trouble for the Rebels started when a small band of members split from the club about two years ago and patched over to the Comanchero.

More recently a substantial number of members patched over to the Nomads after a former senior Sydney member of the Rebels, took over its Canberra operations.

ACT police have established a designated taskforce to monitor the growing presence.


Previously the club had been controlled by a father and son duo, who handed in their Rebels colours and joined the Nomads.

The Sydney-based Nomads have recently been smashed by the NSW Gang Squad using the consorting laws to dismantle their club house and repeatedly locking up Nomads members under the laws.

It’s believed to be one of the reasons they jumped at the chance to get into an area which lacked the power to lock them up on sight.

ACT police are quick to point out that despite new clubs the number of actual bikies has not increased.

“It’s pretty attractive for them (bikies) because of the pressure they have been under here in Sydney,’’ a NSW detective said.

The ACT police have established a designated taskforce so it can focus solely on targeting the developing problem.

“Taskforce Nemesis is a dedicated ACT Policing team focused on targeting, disrupting and apprehending those members of OMCGs involved in criminal activities,’’ the spokesman said.

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Mark Morri
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