Police will be on the lookout for criminal behaviour as outlaw motorcycle gang arrives

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Police have labelled the Bandidos “an organised crime gang” ahead of the bikie outfit’s national run next weekend in Tasmania.

The Bandidos, who are expanding their presence in the state with more chapters, start arriving here today on the Spirit of Tasmania and other transport.

Up to 300 Bandidos are expected to be in Tasmania for the ride which starts Friday.

Yesterday, the Mercury revealed that new prospect chapters in Hobart and Launceston were being established.

Police Commander Jonathan Higgins said the Bandidos was an “organised crime gang” which would “be under very close police scrutiny while in Tasmania”.

“The [outlaw motorcycle club gang] members are on notice in our jurisdiction. We will not tolerate criminal activity, anti-social or intimidating behaviour, or breaches of our traffic laws,” he said.

“These groups are not welcome here. In recent years, members and associates of these groups have been charged with significant offences including drug trafficking and firearms crimes.”

Tensions between Bandidos and rival gangs have already flared with an altercation at a Devonport boxing event last weekend. Police reportedly stood between Bandidos and Outlaws members as they traded abuse.

But Commander Higgins did not believe things would boil over during the Bandidos’ national run.

“It’s always a concern that could happen. I don’t think it will in this case,” he said.

“The relationships between them are what they are but we’ll have significant police resources [there].”

Police have been in contact with the Bandidos regarding their ride plans.

Police will perform vehicle checks, targeted drug and alcohol testing, monitoring for anti-social and criminal behaviour and traffic operations.

Extra officers have been rostered on for the operation while outlaw gang specialists, including officers from the National Anti-Gangs Squad, will be brought in.

The Bandidos will hold a “poker run” on Sunday, starting at Forth which is open to the public with proceeds going to a “local nominated charities” the club’s website says.

A smaller group of up to 30 Bandidos will travel to southern Tasmania including overnight visits to Hobart and Port Arthur for two nights on November 20 and 21 before returning to Devonport via the East Coast on November 23.

Comment was sought from the Bandidos.

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