Local bikie gangs in police sights

BIKIE gangs calling the Coffs Coast home have been singled out by a police strike force targetting the illegal operations of outlaw motorcycle gangs in NSW.

A statewide report run in the metropolitan press has revealed the names of the gangs and where their 105 chapters are based.

On the Coffs Coast, the Finks are operating out of Woolgoolga, with the Rebels, the Lone Wolf and the Nomads in Coffs Harbour.

Police say the concern is that bikie gangs are now diversifying their legitimate operations beyond the traditional tattoo parlours, smash repairers and earthmoving work into lucrative metropolitan-based gyms and nightclubs.

But the bikies are not winning the war, with the police strike force called Raptor – set up two years ago to target the gangs – busting 1300 bikies for everything from murder to illegal parking.

“We know from sources and intelligence gathering they talk about and hate Raptor,” gangs boss Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said.

Police are unashamed of how the squad operates, setting out to niggle, annoy and harass bikies and associates with “in your face policing”.

They have issued 6000 traffic infringement notices in just 24 months leading to thousands of arrests and invaluable intelligence about bikie gangs and their associates.

Routine traffic stops have ended up with massive weapons and drug seizures.

Flying club colours locally, the Finks were founded in Adelaide in the 1960s and are considered extremely violent.

They were last year declared an illegal criminal organisation in South Australia, forcing them to spread interstate.

The Rebels are said to be the largest outlaw motorcycle club in Australia.

They are more of a traditional club and are run by former boxer and founding member Alex Vella.

Lone Wolf, one of the smaller groups in NSW, has six chapters spread across the state, including operations in Coffs Harbour.

The Nomads are a low-key ally of the Hells Angels allegedly engaged in illegal activities.

“We aim to disrupt their businesses, legal or illegal in any way,” Supt Katsogiannis said.

He said intelligence reports and arrests showed steroid use by gang members was on the increase.

“They deal and use the ‘roids themselves.”

“And it is why they are becoming more violent and unpredictable and pose a greater risk to the public and to the guys in Raptor,” he said.

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