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.
Source: The West Australian