Bikie bashing triggers fear of gang warfare
THE battle of the bikies on the Queensland-NSW border has begun, with fears gang warfare could erupt like the infamous Broadbeach bikie brawl.
The arrest of Gold Coast Hells Angels president Greg Pearce for allegedly assaulting another bikie stunned gang insiders and police because it was in a busy public area.
The brutal bashing outside the Palm Beach Hotel has been likened to the 2013 incident at Broadbeach that forced a crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Police sources and MPs are concerned the bikie border menace is about to erupt into gang battles, at a time when an internal review recommends the bikie busting unit RAP should be split and southern CIB staff moved to Coomera in the north.
A bikie source told the Bulletin: "The Hells Angels have always been at Logan. They had the amphetamine trade. They wanted a cut of the ice and cocaine on the Gold Coast.
"But they were squashed by RAP when they tried to get into Burleigh. What you are seeing here, on a lesser scale, it's in a public space, in Palm Beach and not dissimilar to Broadbeach.
"This is on the border of Black Uhlans and Lone Wolves. And it's on the back of two other recent incidents in licensed premises."
Assistant Commissioner Brian Wilkins said there was no intelligence to suggest there was a turf war erupting on the Coast.
"The monitoring of OMCG activity and subsequent enforcement activity continues to be a policing priority on the Gold Coast and members of OMCGs will continue to be closely monitored and targeted," Mr Wilkins said.
"The incident at Palm Beach underlines the propensity for violence of OMCG members amongst their own networks and associates, and is not related to other clubs.
"There is no intelligence whatsoever to support any claim of a 'turf war' between OMCGs."
Several police sources said bikie gangs had moved across the border after the tough VLAD laws were introduced in the wake of the Broadbeach brawl, encroaching on the Lone Wolf club's stronghold around Chinderah.
"It's caused some issues over the border among those vying for position," a police source said.
"The Lone Wolves aren't the biggest group on the Coast, so those bigger groups have been slowly picking at them for some time now.
"Queensland works very closely with New South Wales police and share intel about bikies and work together on cross border operations, because if they're that close to the Coast, one would think they're up to no good here."
Burleigh MP Michael Hart has spoken to police who are concerned about resourcing in the wake of the bikie incident.
"They have told me that now they (senior management) have control of RAP, they could go anywhere," Mr Hart said.
"They were also very concerned that they will move police from the south to tackle issues in the north.
"I'm very concerned that Palm Beach station is down about five officers. They're patching things up. The police budget is down and crime is up. Officers are down. Work it out."
Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had rolled out the red carpet to criminal gangs by going soft on organised crime.
"Labor scrapped LNP's tough (VLAD) laws on bikies and replaced them with weak unenforceable laws. The significantly low level of convictions compared to the number of charges speaks for itself," she said.
"Under Labor, there have been at least 969 official warnings, 10 charges and only two convictions of the consorting offence, showing these laws are all talk and no action.
"The issue with Labor's laws is that a person must consort with a recognised offender on at least two occasions before they can be charged. Labor's laws are putting the safety of Queensland at risk."
Bond University criminologist Dr Terry Goldsworthy said moving police from the city's south to the north would only cause "trouble to bubble up" on the border.
"The bikie busting unit is now non-existent. RAP was the biggest weapon to put the foot on the throat of bikies," he said.