Police Minister calls Rebels response 'PR Spin'
QUEENSLAND has stepped up the offensive against criminal bikies, and now leads a national campaign that includes all states and territories and the Federal Government.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the offensive targeted specifically the Rebels motorcycle club, which he described as "the biggest criminal gang in Australia", numbering 1200 members nationally.
"We want to make sure the Sunshine Coast remains a safe place and we can take away these parasites who prey on the most vulnerable people and bring drugs and violence to the streets," Mr Dempsey said.
"We don't want to talk with them or debate with them, we want to wipe them out."
Mr Dempsey went on the attack after articles in The Daily outlining the views of Sunshine Coast Rebels on the new anti-association laws designed to crush outlaw motorcycle gangs.
"In the last week, the members have started a public relations campaign to try and portray them as loveable blokes who just want to ride their motorbikes, when in fact they are Australia's biggest criminal gang, involved in extortion, drug manufacturing, money laundering, assaults and murders,'' Mr Dempsey said.
"I know Queenslanders won't buy the lying that the Rebels are a bunch of nice guys and neither do I."
Senior police say Taskforce Maxima has charged 21 people they allege are Rebels gang members on 35 charges in Queensland - including at Tewantin, Caloundra and Coolum.
The charges are believed to come on top of the 16 Sunshine Coasters charged with 40 offences this week.
Deputy Commissioner Brett Ponting said it was common for criminal motorcycle gangs to consult PR experts.
"It's fairly predictable. We've seen the Rebels motorcycle gang do this before," he said.
"It's in the interests of these organisations to convince the public that they are not criminal gangs.
"They are a sophisticated criminal network."