PO­LICE HEAT ON BIKIES

IN­SIDE THE GANG WAR

The West Australian - - FRONT PAGE - Gabrielle Knowles Chief Crime Re­porter

WA Po­lice have turned up the heat on Perth’s war­ring bikie gangs amid fears in­no­cent peo­ple may get caught in the cross­fire.

A se­ries of raids this week has net­ted more weapons from mem­bers of the Rebels, who are in­volved in a bit­ter feud with the Co­manchero gang that has al­ready in­volved bash­ings, shoot­ings and fire-bomb­ings across Perth. Det-Insp. Mark Twamley said po­lice were treat­ing the dis­pute se­ri­ously. “There is the po­ten­tial risk of in­no­cent peo­ple get­ting caught up in it and in­jured so that is why we are main­tain­ing the pres­sure on them and ac­tively try­ing to get guns out of their hands,” he said.

While gang crime squad de­tec­tives have been keep­ing a close eye on the two clubs since sev­eral Rebels mem­bers de­fected to their ri­vals last year, the shoot­ing of a Rebels as­so­ciate in a sub­ur­ban street three weeks ago and “bash on sight” or­ders made by the gangs prompted them to ramp up the pres­sure.

Task­force Sea­grass was launched, with raids and traf­fic stops re­sult­ing in charges against more than 15 mem­bers and as­so­ciates of the gangs and the seizure of about 20 guns, as well as other weapons, drugs, stolen prop­erty and cash — ev­i­dence of their wider crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, po­lice say.

Four Rebels bikies and a Co­manchero faced court this week af­ter they were charged

over a bru­tal late-night brawl at Crown Perth last month.

Mem­bers of the two gangs al­legedly ran into each other at the casino and agreed to take their dis­pute out­side, where a fist fight erupted that ended with at least two men on the ground as their heads were kicked and stamped on.

In Perth Mag­is­trate’s Court, a lawyer for two of the Rebels de­scribed it as a “con­sen­sual fight” away from the pub­lic and said he did not be­lieve po­lice had a state­ment from any al­leged vic­tims.

But a po­lice pros­e­cu­tor told the court a man could not con­sent when he was un­con­scious.

The ex­change came dur­ing an un­suc­cess­ful bid to have Rebels bikie Adam Trinder held in cus­tody.

The court was told po­lice found a pis­tol, am­mu­ni­tion, drugs and stolen prop­erty at the By­ford home of Rebels bikie Jamie Collins when they ar­rested him and Mr Trinder over the brawl. It also emerged that some of those charged over the fight were al­ready on bail for other vi­o­lent of­fences, in­clud­ing a do­mes­tic at­tack and a rob­bery.

Det-Insp. Twamley said most of the guns seized in re­cent weeks were small, con­ceal­able firearms and nearly all had iden­ti­fi­ca­tion mark­ings re­moved.

Out­law mo­tor­cy­cle gang ex­pert Mark Lauchs, a Queens­land Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor, said it was im­por­tant that States in­tro­duced uni­form tough laws to help au­thor­i­ties crack down on bikies.

There was ev­i­dence gang mem­bers shifted to wher­ever the laws were most lax.

The WA Govern­ment is work­ing on firearm pro­hi­bi­tion or­ders and anti-con­sort­ing laws and hopes to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion early next year.

Four of the bikies charged over a casino brawl.

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