Biker Business….

With motorcycle gang violence again under scrutiny, it’s worth remembering an ominous warning about a biker blueprint for consolidating and carving up territory amongst the strongest clubs to maximise illicit incomes.

The warning was contained in a confidential assessment prepared in New Zealand on the activities of the Bandidos and the Highway 61 club and an agreement between Australian motorcycle gangs.

Bandidos chapter president Rodney Monk was gunned down outside an East Sydney restaurant on Thursday night in what appears to have been an internal club dispute. Police are hunting former Banidos sergeant-at-arms Russell Oldham in connection with the killing. Monk has since been named as a cocaine “broker” with links to an organised drug syndicate.

And on Saturday three members of the Highway 61 gang were arrested in Adelaide over the blackmail and bashing of a local man who owed money for drugs. The men were arrested at Adelaide airport after flying in from Sydney, allegedly to further threaten the victim. Two of the bikies were travelling under false identities.

Acting Detective Superintendent Graham Goodwin said after the arrests that such violence was become more common amongst bikie gangs.

“We are becoming increasingly aware that members of motorcycle gangs and their associates are threatening and extorting members of the community to obtain money and other assets,” he said.

In the document called “A Preliminary Report on the Bandidos Motor Cycle Club Merging with the New Zealand Highway 61 Motor Cycle Club” prepared by New Zealand police in 1996, details were given of plans by international biker gangs to drastically reduce the number of outlaw motor clubs proliferating world-wide.

“This [move] began in America where most motor cycle initiatives appear to begin, and through the reaches of the empire of the strong gangs, such as the Hell’s Angels and Outlaws, spread to Europe through their associated chapters and affiliated groups, and then to other countries of the world,” the report said.

“The reasoning behind the activity was to limit and control the amount of competition for the shrinking dollar in the illicit trading arena such as the drugs market, and to strengthen the financial position of the major corporation players.

“…where minor gang entities exist, they were either to be chartered (taken over) or absorbed by takeover, or eliminated completely, often through extreme violence, [including] homicide through shootings and bombings.

“In early 1994, following the world trend, there was a meeting in Sydney, Australia, between the major gangs where it was decided informally that the gangs in that country would adopt a similar stance to that already being set up by the rest of the [multinational] gang business world-wide.

“There would be a maximum of six gangs controlling Australia by the year 2000.”

Under what was dubbed the “Australia 2000 Pact” the six gangs that would dominate were the Hell’s Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos, Rebels, Black Uhlans and Nomads.

The contents of the confidential report were revealed to the SA parliament on July 2, 1996 amid growing fears in that state of motorcycle gang violence.

The SA parliament was told that the confidential report detailed how New Zealand bikies had links to Australian gangs involved in trading and selling illegal weapons.

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Vancouver – Drugs, Gangs and Olympic Games?

Recent Mercer Quality of Living global city rankings showed Vancouver as the greatest city in America. Nevertheless, it has been receiving a lot of completely different attention in the last months. Why?

For the first three months of 2009 alone, Vancouver (2.7 mil inhabitants) has witnessed 45 shootings, 17 of them fatal. Converted per 1 mil citizens, that means 6.3 of them died violently. Compared to Toronto (5.1 mil citizens), there was 11 murders in the same period, which works out at 2.2 violent deaths per 1 mil citizens – almost three times less!

Gangs, other gangs, police and citizens

10 years ago, there were only 10 times less active gangs in Vancouver than these days. Speaking in specific figures, it is over 100 gangs active in Vancouver these days! Moreover, there are three main circumstances that are not helping the situation at all: 1) the gangs’ organization is mostly quite bad, 2) they can acquire weapons without any remarkable effort, and 3) the member base of the gangs is formed of very young draftees.

Today, we can notice a parallel fight in Vancouver and its streets. One of them being naturally between the gangs themselves. The gangs are at each other’s throats since the price of cocaine from Mexico has increased. In the recent past, the cocaine price has shot from $23,300/kg up to almost $39,000/kg, this being caused by the project against drug cartels led by the Mexican administration.

Now you might be asking why the connection between Vancouver and drugs is so strong. In order to reply to this inquiry, we have to remember several facts: the city administration has traditionally very relaxed policies, Vancouver is in a perfect region for drug business, and it has large surroundings where only few people live. So the drug-related business and crime has very good climate here. We could hardly find another Canadian city with such perfect configuration of these characteristics.

And yet the city of Vancouver has fewer policemen per head of population than any other great Canadian city. Moreover, the regional politicians are suggesting to lower the annual police and court budget by $20 million by 2012. If the metropolitan police had more financial and personal resources in hand, their situation in the war against the gangs would be much better.

Conclusion…?

As professional Vancouver realtor I want to present calm and safe neighborhoods of my town. I am far from pretending that this problem we are facing can be solved by some quick & easy peace recipes. However, it seems apparent to me that the police would need to increase its staff count and budget, not lower it! The city has to be safe and secure again. One, but not the only reason being the Olympic games soon, but mostly because the citizens of Vancouver deserve it. The beginning of the gang problem solution might be a new stern law proposed by the PM Stephen Harper. According to this act, the gang murders would be judged as first-degree and punished with the minimum of 25 years. But we will have to do much more to regenerate Vancouver’s good reputation from the past.

False Promises of Gang Life

Parents may not realize this, but research tells us that the number one reason children join gangs is for a sense of family or belonging. Today’s working parents are busy. This isn’t wrong; this is necessity, but sometimes kids feel neglected or inadvertently get lost in the shuffle. Some children simply aren’t as outgoing as others and feel isolated or bullied at school. These kids can easily get discouraged and lonely. They are easy targets for the lure of gang promises. The reality of gang life is not what it may appear to be.

Young people are drawn into gangs because of the illusion of friends who “have their back”, money, respect and the glittery lifestyle some celebrities represent. There is not protection in a gang. As a matter of fact, there is much more danger in joining a gang than not because you and your family become targets for rival gangs. Entire families are put in harm’s way. Most young people never meant for siblings and other family members to be killed. They usually don’t realize the far reaching consequences of gang involvement.

Gang members usually end up dropping out of school because of fear of rival gang members. Without an education, there’s not a lot of hope for financial security. Respect in a gang is simply fear. Real respect is recognizing the rights of others and treating people the way you want to be treated. Real respect is earned through education and accomplishments. Gang violence and criminal acts are hardly respectful. How much respect is garnered for those behind bars? Does anyone really grow up thinking, “hey, when I grow up, I want to go to jail”? Does anyone really think they should be beaten senseless to gain friends? Should you really have to commit crimes to keep “friends”? Most teens are tired of parents and teachers telling them what to do. Gangs dictate what you wear, where you go, who you can hang out with and date. They will rob you of your freedom and choices.

According to statistics, gang involvement makes one 60% more likely to be a victim of homicide. Teens who find themselves involved in gangs usually never intended to ruin their lives. They were trying to find something positive, but they found it in the wrong place.

If a young person you know is entertaining the thought of joining a gang, remind him or her of the consequences and the alternatives. There are clubs, church activities, Boys and Girls clubs, sports, various lessons in art, dance, music, etc. If you are already involved in the gang culture and want out, go to your local police gang task force. According to the website above, there are ways out, but you may likely have to change your location. It won’t be easy, but can be done. Remember, it’s much easier to never get involved than to get out.