WA Police target Hells Angels in Perth on ‘national run’

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WA Police are out in force to ensure bikies from the notorious Hells Angels do not cause trouble, with gang members from across Australia descending on Perth this weekend for a so-called “national run”.

About 40 eastern states members of the world’s oldest and biggest gang are expected to join locals at the club’s Hilton headquarters tonight - ironically a former police station.

Several members and ‘prospects’ – prospective members - have already turned up on motorbikes, while others have been in cars. Others are believed to be drinking at nearby pubs.

Gang crime squad officers have set up roadblocks at both ends of the street and bikies arriving at the clubhouse are being questioned, having their licences checked and their photographs taken, with police saying the intelligence-gathering plays a vital role in helping to disrupt the gang’s criminal activities.

Police search three Hells Angles as they arrive in Hilton for a club function.

Police search three Hells Angles as they arrive in Hilton for a club function.Picture: Mogens Johansen

One man was strip-searched and then taken away by officers after a sniffer dog allegedly indicated he had illicit drugs on him, although it is understood no drugs were found.

Investigators searched the BMW 4WD that the man and two other gang members were in, even crawling under the vehicle to ensure there were no secret compartments.

The Hells Angels quietly established a presence in WA in late 2016 and are believed to have only about a dozen members locally.

Det-Insp Mark Twamley said the safety of the public was the primary focus for WA Police, so officers were closely monitoring the bikies to ensure they did not cause any trouble in WA.

It was also part of a strategy to make WA a “hostile environment” for bikie gangs.

Police road blocks for Hells Angels meeting at Paget Street Hilton. Pic Mogens Johansen, The West Australian

Police road blocks for Hells Angels meeting at Paget Street Hilton. Pic Mogens Johansen, The West Australian

“Bikie gangs remain a focus for us because they’re frequently linked to serious criminal activity within the community, including drug trafficking, extortion, violent assaults and intimidation, which have a significant impact on the community,” he said.

“They’re motivated by power and profit. They recruit aggressively to attract new young members with promises of a glamorous lifestyle but unfortunately these younger members pay a significant price for aligning with the gangs.”

An outlaw motorcycle gang expert warned bikies could increasingly see WA as a place to gather openly for meetings, rides or a site for new chapters because it did not yet have tough anti-consorting laws.

The laws, which exist in many other States, ban people with serious convictions from associating with each other.

Police block roads as they stop Hells Angels in Hilton.

Police block roads as they stop Hells Angels in Hilton.Picture: Mogens Johansen

Mark Lauchs, a Queensland University of Technology associate professor, said it was important that States introduced uniform tough laws because there was evidence that bikies shifted to wherever the laws were most lax.

He said there had been an increase in bikie activity and violence in the ACT after surrounding states brought in anti-consorting laws.

“WA is another place they can meet or form new chapters and the only reason you haven’t seen it as much is because you’re a lot further away than the ACT,” he said.

The State Government says it hopes to introduce anti-consorting laws before July.

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Gabrielle Knowles
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perthnow.com.au




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