Bandidos pass initiation test in push for Tassie turf

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A FEARED bikie gang is trying to strengthen its presence in Tasmania.

Bandidos gang members from across the globe have been congratulating their bikie comrades in Tasmania for making it to the next phase of their initiation to become a fully-fledged chapter of the outlaw organisation.

This is despite police targeting the group to limit its emergence locally, including evicting members from their clubhouse and conducting operations that led to several people being charged with assault, theft, drug and driving offences.

The development comes a year after the Mersey River chapter established itself in the state’s North-West, sparking fears of potential bikie feuds, ice manufacturing and drug trafficking.

Tasmania Police Serious Organised Crime Division Detective Inspector Glen Ball confirmed that mainland Bandidos members, including the group’s national president, were recently in Tasmania as part of the bikie gang’s initiation process.

“The group was known as the Mersey ‘hang around chapter’ and intelligence indicates it recently progressed to a ‘probationary chapter’ following an event attended by national members, including the national president,” Insp Ball said.

“This event was the subject of a police operation which resulted in associates being charged with driving offences and drug-driving offences which are now before the court.”

Chapters of the notorious gang from Finland, Russia, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain commented on the Bandidos MC website, congratulating the Tasmanian Bandidos for taking a big step towards becoming fully patched members.

Comments were also posted from chapters in Darwin and Victoria.

Since the Bandidos sought to establish themselves locally last year, Tasmania Police has vowed to disrupt the group and dismantle its foothold, conducting numerous raids and laying assault, drug, theft and driving charges against alleged members and associates.

Insp Ball said that the group had been significantly disrupted and was not entrenched, despite recent bikie status developments.

“Targeted policing activity along with community engagement and liaison resulted in the members being evicted from a premises in Shearwater they were using as a clubhouse,” he said.

“There is no current intelligence suggesting they have an alternate premises.

“The Bandidos OMCG are not entrenched in Tasmania — it is believed membership totals five people statewide — and while they have been disrupted, it is likely they will attempt to establish themselves in the area again.

“Local Bandidos members and their associates have been charged with various offences, including serious drug offences, instigated by the Serious Organised Crime Unit last year.

“Tasmania Police will continue ... to ensure a hostile environment for them.”

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