New motorcycle clubs linked to the notorious Hells Angels are sprouting up around the province, alarming police who think the older gang is expanding its reach.
Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, of the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, says there are now about 30 of the support or “puppet” clubs in B.C., compared to 10 chapters of the Hells Angels.
“There’s been four or five new ones pop up in the Lower Mainland in the last year,” he said. “The farm team system for the HAs is very alive and well.”
Among the new groups is the Smoke Show, an all women’s riding club, the Commandos and another called the Krusherz.
Houghton said six of the approximately 30 support clubs “are self-identified one percenters, so they wear the little one per cent diamond on their leather vest.” That means they identify as “outlaw” motorcycle clubs, he said, of the expression that dates back to the formation of the Hells Angels in 1948.
After more than two years of COVID restrictions, Hells Angels and their supporters are hosting large “rides” and other events that had been cancelled throughout the pandemic. That has allowed police to gather intelligence on how the biker landscape has changed.
Many of the new puppet clubs are showing up at Hells Angels events, Houghton said.
“The concern, as these clubs proliferate, is that the people in these clubs, will continually confirm their dedication and their loyalty and their subservience to the Hells Angels,” Houghton said.