Hells Angels clawing their way into Asia

FEW outsiders get to see inside the Royal Thai Police force’s highly trained Arintaraj 26 Special Operations Unit, whose name means “the king who is above all enemies” and is modelled on the fearsome German police GSG9 created in the wake of the Munich Olympics crisis.

But News Corp Australia was invited to witness the elite show-of-force training and assault rehearsals that organised crime groups including Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang figures are now seeing.

“That’s the kill room,” an officer said pointing to a scarred two-storey building into which heavily armed balaclava-clad troops rapidly shuffle through with their weapons on aim as they yell commands and encouragements to each other.

It’s a sure sign things are getting serious.

OUTLAW OUTPOST

For the past four years OMCGs from Australia have been quietly moving to Thailand to set up operations, squeezed out of Australia by relentless federal and state-based co-ordinated police raids and harassing shakedowns designed to dismantle criminal elements of their enterprises.

Antonio Bagnato has been sentenced to death.

Antonio Bagnato has been sentenced to death.

The police focus has been backed by some of the strongest anti-gang, anti-consorting laws of any Western country.

Thailand doesn’t have the same laws but until recently did not have a problem.

Now they do and they train their most elite to stamp it out.

A few years ago Royal Thai Police told Australian Federal Police counterparts while they acknowledged Australia’s persistent OMCG issue they said “here they just ride bikes”.

But that attitude changed in November 2015 when known international drug trafficker and Hells Angels heavyweight Wayne Schneider was kidnapped and bashed to death in Pattaya by at least five men, three of whom were jailed with one, Australian kickboxer Antonio Bagnato, handed the death penalty.

Bagnato was already under investigation over a murder in Sydney’s Leichhardt in 2014 before he fled to Thailand and later in dispute over drugs and money, led the execution of Schneider. An American co-accused 25-year-old Tyler Gerard gets out of jail this week and will be deported to the US.

EVIDENCE OF EMPIRE

Since the murder and before there had been numerous incidents of violence involving Australian OMCGs but only now are they being drawn together for a composite intelligence picture Thai police have produced mapping incidents, targets and hangouts across their country.

Australian bikers from the Outlaws were allegedly behind the bashing of a British pub owner who wanted to take over his bar which rivalled theirs in Thai north east province Surin in September while in Pattaya a minor traffic incident prompted three Australian Hells Angels members, caught on CCTV, to horrifically bash two local men with one holding the head of the victim for the other to repeatedly kick in the face.

Daniel Anthony Stalley, 34, Luke Anderson, 40, and 43-year-old John Lee later surrendered to police and paid compensation and a fine.

Up to five Aussie Hells Angels led by biker Glen Norris allegedly bashed another Thai member for trying to bring others into the group and an Australian member of the Bandidos and German OMCG Gremium were arrested in Chiang Mai in March for extortion and stand over with menace of an Australian family-owned restaurant and other foreign tourists.

Three years ago two tourists were accidentally shot in Phuket by two Australian Rebels bikers who ran a local tattoo parlour and had been chasing a third Danish biker over a business dispute.

ANGEL ARMY

An investigation by News Corp has also uncovered evidence of OMCGs notably linked to Outlaws members in Thailand and Philippines running “boiler room” scams fleecing Australians of their savings in phony investments and money laundering some of which are only coming to light now via the leaked Panama Papers detailing offshore slush funds by shelf and front companies.

It is also understood:

Construction work at the Hells Angels new clubhouse near Pattaya, Thailand. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Construction work at the Hells Angels new clubhouse near Pattaya, Thailand. Picture: Nathan Edwards

MANY of those shifting to Thailand are doing so under a scheme where for AUD$20,000 “business travellers” five year resident visas including assistance with obtaining drive licences and workings visas;

ARE using local “spouses” to help buy property including homes, club houses, bars/restaurants and parlours and set up front businesses;

EVIDENCE they are paying local officials for protection and information;

ARE establishing “feeder clubs” of unpatched locals for community support of their enterprises;

ARE using secure communications including extensive use of BlackBerry phone and encrypted apps and two leading Australian figures, formally from South Australia and Queensland, are known to be travelling between Thailand and United Arab Emirates to establish chapters and money transfer businesses.

Hells Angels has the largest footprint in Thailand including in Pattaya where it has a high security chapter house but is now building a huge complex including a biker clothing factory, accommodation, offices and a motorbike sales and auto shop on the outskirts of the city. The building is expected to be completed by the New Year.

But they are spreading, attracted to the region by lifestyle and lack of police attention.

 

 

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Charles Miranda
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heraldsun.com.au




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