Bikie war could ‘spiral out of control’
THERE are fears of an all-out bikie war in Queensland after a series of violent incidents.
In the past month, a Brisbane tattoo parlour has been firebombed, a man shot eight times and bashed with a baseball bat inside his home, a brazen daylight bashing outside a Gold Coast pub and a violent brawl outside a Brisbane shopping centre.
Superintendent Charysse Pond - from Queensland's State Crime Command - conceded there had been an "absolute escalation of violence in relation to organised criminal gangs".
Queensland Police has advised the general public they are safe but conceded tensions between bikie gangs have boiled over.
The spate of incidents had also led to Queensland criminologist Dr Terry Goldsworthy to concede: "If you don't get on top of it quickly it'll quickly spiral out of control."
Here are some of the recent incidents involving bikie gangs:
TATTOO PARLOUR ATTACKED
Since the end of January, tensions between warring gangs have escalated to all-out violence with the most recent incident leaving a Brisbane tattoo shop, owned by Rebels president Mick Kosenko, up in smoke.
Forensic investigators set up a crime scene at tattoo parlour Koolsville Studios for days after the shop was deliberately set alight late last Thursday night.
ALLEGED REBELS MEMBER SHOT AT HOME
The fire came two days after the shooting of alleged Rebels member Gokhan Turkyilmaz on the Gold Coast on Tuesday night.
Turkyilmaz was shot eight times inside his home before a group of five men, all wearing balaclavas, bashed him with a baseball bat.
BRAWL AT LOGAN HYPERDOME
Police were also called to a brutal brawl at the Logan Hyperdome in early February involving a number of bikies.
Detectives swooped quickly on the group, arresting nine people four days after the February 4 altercation which involved a 27-year-old man, armed with a machete, being shot in the leg.
A steel grate was also smashed through the windscreen of a car and another car was found burnt out in bushland nearby.
"Violence involving gangs particularly in public spaces will not be tolerated," Superintendent Roger Lowe said at the time.
"We know that individuals within this gang are not just motorcycle enthusiasts gathering for a good time, they represent a criminal organisation and as evident in this incident have little regard for public safety."
Eight people from the Logan Rebels bikie group were charged over the attack and by February 28, two other men had been charged.
COPS CONCEDE THERE IS A PROBLEM
Supt Pond said on Friday: "We are seeing an absolute escalation of violence in relation to organised criminal gangs."
Supt Pond said police were continuing to crack down on illegal bikie gang activity, and the wider community shouldn't feel intimidated.
"This is specific violence that we are taking very seriously but it remains contained to a very specific group of people," she said.
Supt Pond would not comment on the exact cause of the escalation but said drugs, property and personal relationships were often key drivers.
"Targeted violence between these gang members is part of their culture. That is how they do business. My message to the public is that they are safe. This is targeted violence between organised crime groups," she said.
But Bond University criminologist Dr Terry Goldsworthy said the obvious escalation in violence meant it was more important than ever that police were able to crack down on warring gangs.
"I think we've seen an increase in intensity in the past few weeks in bikie-related crime and there was a Hell's Angel assault going back to January," Dr Goldsworthy, also a former senior Queensland Police detective, told 4BC.
Since the end of January, Queensland has seen an escalation in bikie violence.
Referring to the brutal fight outside a restaurant in the Gold Coast suburb of Broadbeach in 2013, where dozens of bikies fought with police and innocent bystanders, Dr Goldsworthy said it was time for police to crack down.
"If you don't get on top of it quickly it'll quickly spiral out of control," he said.
Dr Goldsworthy said the scaling back of Taskforce Maxima, the special team of Queensland Police detectives working exclusively in the bikie world, was one reason why gang violence was escalating.
"We saw in 2016 the reduction of Maxima by a third," he said. "They look at operational and strategic issues related to (bikies) and the more long term.
"We saw that reduced by a third in the budget handed down in 2016. That would've had an impact.
"We also saw (Maxima) moved from Surfers Paradise where the team had maximum space out to Coomera. That makes no sense at all because bikies are centred around Surfers Paradise and the Broadbeach nightclub precincts."
As crime rises in areas such as Coomera, Dr Goldsworthy said uniformed police once tasked with "day to day interface with bikies - to get in their face and make life uncomfortable for them" were also being moved on.
The Rapid Action Control group was specifically designed to watch bikies in Surfers Paradise and parts of Brisbane but as crime rises in other parts of south east Queensland, their focus is being drawn elsewhere.
The rapid escalation of violence in the past month has left Queenslanders terrified, with Dr Goldsworthy calling on police to fix its public perception.
"There's a perception of a lack of safety and security when you go out in public if these things are allowed to continue," he said.
"People don't feel safe in public, it doesn't matter what the reality is, it's the perception that is all important and it's a failing."