Hells Angels sets up a gang pad in Palmerston North suburb

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Members of an infamous biker gang who have set up  base in an  affluent Palmerston North suburb plan to put on a barbecue to introduce themselves to neighbours. 

A two-storey brick property on Albert St in Hokowhitu may appear unassuming, but it is now home to the Hells Angels Central gang.  

The Hells Angels was established in Auckland in 1961 and was the first  chapter to be established outside of California, United States.

Hells Angels has set up base in the Palmerston North suburb of Hokowhitu.
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Hells Angels has set up base in the Palmerston North suburb of Hokowhitu.

 

A woman, who did not wish to be named for fear of retribution, said the group moved in just before Christmas last year. 

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Her son lives in the area and she said they initially thought it was just a crowd of "bogans". 

"Parties go on till the early hours of the morning. There are big dogs on the property. They have guards at the door 24/7."

It was not until neighbours were delivered a letter that they realised who the new residents were. 

The letter, obtained by Stuff, informs neighbours that the Hells Angels Central chapter had moved into the street.

It provides a contact number and says if neighbours have any issues they should get in touch, or feel free to come over and talk to them. 

"We will do our best to keep the noise down and in the near future would like to have a BBQ and invite the neighbours over to meet and greet some of us and have a look around," it says. 

But the woman said she did not think this was inviting to neighbours.

"Who in their right mind is going to get in touch and make a complaint?

"I think a lot of people are quite frightened."

She said they had a party on Saturday, which saw people doing burnouts on their bikes out on the street. 

But she said time would tell what the gang would be like as a neighbour. 

"They could be above board, they could be great, they could do things for the community. I don't know." 

A member of the Hells Angels was approached for comment but said he was not able to do so at this stage. 

Gang expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert said the letter drop may have been a result of the Hells Angels learning that it was important to get on with neighbours.

"The community has to accept the group, in some part."

Gilbert said neighbours of such clubs were often incredibly safe as they tended to have good surveillance. 

"They often tend to be quite good neighbours, but often there is a bit of noise." 

He said he could understand why some people might be sceptical. 

"People will be frightened. But what you'll find is if you speak to neighbours who have been around that group for a long time, that attitude changes." 

Figures released under the Official Information Act in 2015 show gang member numbers were so low in Manawatu that an exact number could not be released. 

However, Whanganui was recorded as having 15 Hells Angels members. 

Police acting Manawatu area commander Inspector Dave White said police were aware people with connections to a criminal organisation had recently moved into the property on Albert St.

He said anyone who noticed anything suspicious could contact the police or give information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

GANG INCIDENTS IN MANAWATU-WHANGANUI AREA

  • Whanganui Black Power president Craig Rippon was murdered on November 8, 2015, though not as a result of rival gang tensions. 
  • Two-year-old Jhia Te Tua was murdered in 2007 when she was shot during an altercation between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs.
  • A high-profile case of gang tension in Manawatu occurred in 2002 when Black Power prospect 16-year-old Wallace Whatuira was shot dead. The three men accused of shooting the teen were Mongrel Mob members, but the prosecution against them was withdrawn.
  • The Nomads was another gang involved in a high-profile incident in 1993 when Foxton GP Howard Teppett, 79, died after being bashed by two young men, one a Nomads prospect.

 - Stuff

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KIRSTY LAWRENCE
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stuff.co.nz




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