Gang members firebombed an Auckland business linked to an outlaw motorcycle club before a spate of shootings in the city, Stuff has learned.
The arson attack happened on Easter Weekend, about a week before the Head Hunters gang pad was sprayed with bullets.
That preceded a shooting in broad daylight at a downtown Auckland hotel and the discovery of explosives at a home on the North Shore.
In the early hours of April 6, two cars rolled past Northside Powersports in an industrial part of Silverdale’s Forge Rd.
Inside were members of the Head Hunters gang, whose new pad is just around the corner in a Manga Rd warehouse.
Molotov cocktails were repeatedly lobbed at the mechanics business, setting a car on fire in front of the premises and singeing the outside of the building.
The building didn’t catch fire but a broken window, blackened cladding and the charred husk of a car were outside when Stuff visited on Friday.
The business had been purchased a few weeks earlier by a man in his mid 20s with links to the Mongols Motorcycle Club, a notorious international bike gang embroiled in an escalating feud with the Head Hunters in Auckland.
Police confirmed their investigation into the arson continues, but are yet to lay charges.
“Police are currently looking at whether there is any link between this incident and recent tensions involving organised crime groups.”
About a year ago, the Head Hunters moved into a warehouse in Manga Rd, a two-minute drive away from Northside Powersports. Their old headquarters at Marua Rd is legally restrained.
People working nearby in Manga Rd said the gangsters are good, respectful neighbours and keep to themselves.
Many appear older, in their 40s or 50s, and they generally do not wear their patches, the neighbours said.
A week after the firebombing, the Marua Rd clubrooms were sprayed with about 30 bullets from what sources say was a military-style semi-automatic rifle.
Then on Wednesday morning, the two gangs were involved in a shooting in the lobby of the Sofitel, a five-star hotel in Auckland’s Viaduct.
Three men fled the scene before armed officers swarmed the building. No-one was injured and officers took three people into custody 10 minutes across town in Ōrākei after raids a short time later.
After the shooting, witnesses saw police escort a man dressed in red, the traditional colour of the Head Hunters, from the swanky hotel.
Police Minister Poto Williams has expressed concern over the eruption in violence in the city.
Williams said the incident showed the reason police had launched Operation Tauwhiro in February, a nationwide effort to disrupt and prevent firearms-related violence linked to organised crime.
“Seven weeks of Operation Tauwhiro they have made 200 arrests, they have seized $1.8m in cash and assets and seized several firearms.
“It would not have been as successful if the police hadn’t had such a focus.”
The Mongols Motorcycle Club originated in California but has a presence in several other countries, including Australia.
Several members of the international biker gang have been deported from Australia as “501” deportees.
The Mongol-linked owner of Northside Powersports lived on the Gold Coast until a few years ago.
It is understood he purchased the business from a member of the Comancheros.
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