28 June 2018

Sleepless nights for Police Chief as Finks motorcycle gang settles in ACT

| Lachlan Roberts
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Ms Saunders said the increased presence of gangs in the ACT was keeping her awake at night. Photo: ACT Policing

Ms Saunders said the increased presence of gangs in the ACT was keeping her awake at night. Photo: ACT Policing.

ACT Policing has revealed that the notorious Finks motorcycle gang has established itself in Canberra, with up to 10 gang members settling in the ACT.

In an interview with the ABC, ACT Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders said police had evidence the gang had settled in Canberra, which increased the number of criminal gangs in the ACT from three to four, joining the Comancheros, Nomads and Rebels.

Ms Saunders said the increased presence of gangs in the ACT was keeping her awake at night, because of their serious organised criminal activity, violence and use of firearms, pointing to an incident last week in Ngunnawal in which a house was shot at.

“Over recent weeks, my concern has only grown because unfortunately, we now have evidence that suggests the Finks motorcycle gang is establishing itself here in Canberra,” she said.

Ms Saunders said there were no specifics about where the gang had established itself.

ACT Policing reports suggest there are 10 members in the ACT, but that is not what worries Ms Saunders.

“My concern is not so much the 10 members here in Canberra, but the relationship they have with the broader criminal network, nationally and internationally,” she said.

“We know they are engaged in a whole range of serious criminal activity.”

Ms Saunders is concerned about the innocent families that will be affected by the added bikie tension and rivalry. She said her fears were realised when an innocent family was caught up in the gang shooting last week.

“Last week, there was an incident where shots were fired into a residence in Ngunnawal. The residence was the previous home of a Comanchero member but it is not anymore. It is a family home, a completely innocent family,” Ms Saunders said.

“There have been no arrests from that incident, and the investigation is ongoing, but we have undertaken two search warrants as a result of that activity.”

ACT Policing said the offenders discharged a firearm several times and set fire to the front door of the house as they fled the scene late on Tuesday, 19 June. ACT Policing is urging anyone who saw a silver utility or suspicious activity in the Ngunnawal area, or has information or video footage that could assist police, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Ms Saunders said a key focus for police was continuing to confiscate the proceeds of crime to disrupt gang activities.

“We continue to look at the full extent of the criminal activity that these organised crime gangs are involved in, so a key focus for us is targeting the driver for their activities, which is their wealth,” she said.

“This year alone, we have restrained 10 homes, 18 vehicles, and approximately $300,000 in cash currently in the process of being restrained. We will continue to focus on this area.”

Ms Saunders reiterated calls for greater police powers including anti-consorting laws and fears if these powers are not increased, more gangs and members will continue to come to the ACT.

“I have said consistently, and I will continue to say, police need preventative powers to ensure that we can prevent this sort of crime occurring where we can,” she said.

“What is critically important is that we have nationally consistent laws in dealing with what is a national issue. I am really keen to explore preventative powers which are proportionate and which will meet community expectations.”

Liberal spokesperson Jeremy Hanson said the lack of action from the Government was incredibly frustrating and reiterated the need to protect the community with tough laws similar to other jurisdictions.

“When we first called for these laws, Canberra only had one outlaw bikie gang. Now we have more gangs than ever, and innocent people are getting caught up in the violence,” Mr Hanson said.

“For years we have been warning of the dangers, and calling for preventative laws. Last year we presented anti-consorting laws that were checked as being human rights compliant. But at every stage, Labor and the Greens have blocked the passing of these laws.”

Mr Hanson said he shared the concerns of the Chief Police Officer and believes without these laws, it will get worse.

“With the raids in other states, it’s blindingly obvious that illegal gangs will move to places where preventative laws do not exist – right here,” he said.

“I am sick of Canberra being a soft target for these groups.

“I put the Government on notice – without these laws, it is just a matter of time before someone is maimed or killed, and the blame will rest squarely on the Government for its disgraceful refusal to protect our community with laws other states have to protect them.”

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Blen_Carmichael4:36 pm 30 Jun 18

I see our Police Minister has got this covered: https://twitter.com/GENTLEMANMick/status/1012945489824608257

I’ve raised on Riotact in the past about Bikie Gangs running amok in Tuggeranong and the issues it has on residents.

My elderly father who ‘as previously mentioned’ has had problems with Bikies in the street, Lo and behold lives in Carter Cr Calwell where the issues have been. But police and government do nothing.

I raised the need to do something with Minister Gentleman at the shopping centre before the last election and he just listened politely and then Did Nothing!!!. How bad do things have to get before the ACT Government actually do anything to address the issues in the outer suburbs.

Capital Retro10:29 am 29 Jun 18

“Who next? Trade unionists?”

Well no, because they are already involved: https://theconversation.com/bikies-unions-and-the-abcc-spinning-the-policing-of-work-22479

Every time I read of the police campaign to have these consorting laws I am troubled by the potential scope to expand them into other groups in society.
Also, I am very concerned that if the police know who these club members are, why they haven’t disrupted them to such an extent it is easier to leave town? Every one of their bikes should attract noise and other defects daily. Most don’t even have their number plates affixed correctly. Most even have non-compliant ape hanger bars. I will bet there are technical defects with their helmets too. Did you know they could even be booked for parking on footpaths? And how many have outstanding interstate charges? So the reality is why won’t the coppers use and exhaust their full array of existing powers before seeking more? I suspect it has something to do with policing trying water down civil protections.

Blen_Carmichael7:53 am 29 Jun 18

“Also, I am very concerned that if the police know who these club members are, why they haven’t disrupted them to such an extent it is easier to leave town?”

You probably watched a lot of movies in which police, particulary those in American small towns, told people to “leave town”. Also, just remember these are outlaw motorcycle gang members, who are no stranger to violence and organised crime. As for the solutions you suggest – seriously? “We have to leave town”, said a shaken sergeant-at-arms “The police were defecting our hogs.”

“I know what you mean”, said a haggard club president. “Rumour has it they were going to look at our helmets for evidence of technical defects. And that came a day after we got booked for parking on footpaths. I can’t take this heat, man; the bronze steal our pride.”

Capital Retro8:39 am 29 Jun 18

They could also do random checks to ensure their illegal firearms are stored in a compliant gun safe so the kiddies in the houses are unable to access them.

The elite crime fighting organisations in this country have been trying to disrupt criminal enterprise through disruption in recent decades. How do you think NSW police “find” large quantities of illegal substances and weapons at “traffic stops”? Regarding the helmet example, how do you think tattooed bike is going to react if he is on his way to collect protection money and he is told by the local constable he cannot ride his Harley? If this sort of stuff happens every time they leave the front door, they will think again. And why do you think these gangs came here in the first place? Easy, we were seen as a soft place to conduct business. If we toughen up, they will look elsewhere.

On consorting laws, why did State Governments repeal them in the 1970s? In short, because they were abused by police forces who used them as a method of control over civil society. And the defence that they would only be used to control bikies has been disproven before. Also, if they are such a holy grail, how come we do not read about how well they have worked in the other jurisdictions. Our ACT Government doesn’t get that much right, but in my opinion resisting the police call gets them a tick from me.

ChrisinTurner7:24 pm 28 Jun 18

Are we attractive because we have the lowest number of police officers per capita?

Capital Retro5:30 pm 28 Jun 18

If drugs were legalised and taxed we would end up with a lot of drug induced zombies committing other crimes.

Some control is better than nothing.

Losing sleep? How about losing your job? ACT Policing have the lowest crime solving rate of any police force in the nation – by a mile! Check out the PC’s Report on Government Services, Volume C.

How on earth can a well resourced policy agency like ACT Policing fail to apply standard methodologies that every other police force apply to solve crimes?

For the last 17 years, all police have been given more money, more powers, and more tech. The AFP are the biggest of all, with ridiculous levels of access to all other state police forces, the national security apparatus, and the very seat of government.

And yet, SOMEHOW, it’s too much to even “regulate” bikie gangs – guys that wear uniforms, ride bikes you hear from miles away, congregate at routine places of business and recreation, and are engaged in well-known and entirely obvious criminal methods.

If police are entirely incapable of even arresting these guys after the fact, who are completely out in the open, what hope does anyone have against a lone wolf at a concert or footy game? The gangs should have vanished years ago, but this demonstrates the myth that is security.

Queanbeyanite7:28 pm 28 Jun 18

Yes, we want a police commissioner who makes the criminal gangs not sleep at night, or during the day.

I thought The Finks had changed their name to The Mongols.

Capital Retro5:28 pm 28 Jun 18

The business name “Mongols” is still available according to the ABN Lookup.

Well that was predicted, but of course the Minister (currently known as the Minster for Frustration in the Molonglo area) thought he knew better.

Anyone can make a bad decision. The true measure of one’s character is how they handle their mistakes.

We are waiting Mr Gentleman.

I had forgot our minister for lack of planning was also minister for police, urban deforestation & multi-story dog-boxes. We are in more trouble than I realised.

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