SAN ANTONIO — Two people are in the hospital after a fight involving alleged Bandidos members broke out at a Southtown bar early Sunday morning.
It happened in the 100 block of Pereida Street at about 2:20 a.m. Police said some members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were hanging out at Southtown 101 when a few of them became angry with a woman. At some point, guns were pulled on her. Two other Bandidos members tried to protect the woman and a fight broke out. Guns and knives were pulled out during the fight, injuring two people. The victims were transported to the hospital in serious condition.
One person was taken into custody, but three others remain at large. Descriptions of the suspects were not immediately made available.
All it took was a spit out of a car window.
It was an act of contempt to a rival gang member and it set off a bloody public clash that left several WA bikies in hospital in October 2010.
Families who had gathered to enjoy a Sunday afternoon at the drag races fled in fear as bad blood between two gangs boiled over into all-out war.
The feud between the Coffin Cheaters and the fledgling Finks over high-profile turncoat Troy Mercanti erupted when members of the clubs unexpectedly turned up at the event at Kwinana Motorplex.
Two carloads of Finks had just arrived at a public staging area where racers were preparing their modified motorcycles when they spotted a passing Coffin Cheater.
One spat at him from the car and the Cheater retaliated by punching him through the window.
As the Finks piled out of the car, ready for a brawl, they were set on by several Cheaters, with others running from around the venue to join in.
The clash put three Finks bikies in hospital after one was shot in the thigh, another had three fingers severed and all three had head injuries.
Several Coffin Cheaters sought medical treatment.
Police said at the time that it was only luck that bystanders were not injured or killed.
In the years since, there have been no major outbreaks, but fire-bombings, drive-by shootings and bashings have kept police busy as they try to keep a lid on tensions between the 13 gangs.
Police concede they are fortunate WA has not witnessed some of the same violence common in other States.
Just last month Canberra residents were caught up in a continuing bikie feud when a bullet fired in a targeted shooting at a neighbouring home came within a metre of them as they slept.
In Victoria, former WA-based Rock Machine gang enforcer Brent “BJ” Reker, who spent time in jail for extortion, has been a target of violence after relaunching the Finks.
His rented home was peppered with bullets last month while his wife and two-week-old son were inside, and his car was firebombed.
In Sydney, former Comanchero boss Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi was executed in February as he sat in his luxury four-wheel-drive outside a gym.
Several years earlier he had played a role in the Sydney airport manslaughter of a Hells Angels bikie.
WA Police attribute some of the calm here to relationships between the local gangs and, of course, the policing efforts.
But they know they can never take their eyes off the ball, with history showing violence can happen without warning if rivals accidentally cross each other’s paths.
University of WA law and criminology lecturer Jade Lindley believes laws should be the same across Australia to help law enforcement deal more easily with cross-border issues.
Outlaw motorcycle gang expert Mark Lauchs, a Queensland University of Technology associate professor, said there was evidence bikies were moving out of Queensland and NSW because of tough anti-consorting laws.
Associate Professor Lauchs believed they could eventually head to WA.
“They are actually in a position now where the NSW bikies are putting their bikes on a truck and driving them to the border of the ACT and riding there,” he said.
Associate Professor Lauchs said WA was fortunate that it was a long way away so was probably not the first choice for gangs relocating their criminal operations.
He said making sure police were well resourced to target bikies and anti-consorting laws — which made it unlawful for gang members to associate with each other in public or private — was the best ways to disrupt the gangs.
He did not think trying to deter young men from joining the gangs would have much success because there were always going to be those with “old-school” attitudes who were drawn to the chauvinistic lifestyles of bikies.
Attorney-General John Quigley says he is working on NSW-style anti-consorting laws.
He has not revealed details but hopes to introduce legislation in Parliament this year.