Bikie beer raids: top cop vows ongoing war against Rebels
THE top cop heading a taskforce cracking down on outlaw bikie gangs says police will continue to make arrests every time members meet.
This is despite the social media firestorm over Rebels being jailed "for having a beer".
Detective Superintendent Mick Niland, the head of Taskforce Maxima, said the Rebels were the "face of organised crime in this country" and were behind drug networks peddling methamphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis.
Det Supt Niland said the Rebels had been involved in murder, extortion, drug dealing and production on the Sunshine Coast through chapters at Noosa, the hinterland and Kunda Park.
Despite the backlash against police over this week's raids, Det Supt Niland said the public was on their side.
He said there had been a 700% increase in calls to Crime Stoppers since the statewide taskforce began.
A victim of standover tactics by the bikies told the Daily yesterday of alleged death threats, intimidation and drug dealing by the Rebels.
The woman, whose identity was provided to the Daily but who asked not to be named, said she had been threatened with violence if she continued with plans to open a tattoo business.
"I find the idea that people are hero-worshipping these scumbag gangs is disgusting,'' the woman said.
"These bikers use threats to intimidate people and hide behind their tattoo businesses so that money can be laundered. This is a fact.''
Det Supt Niland said it was important that "both sides of the story" were presented following the outcry by the families of five men arrested for associating at the Yandina Hotel.
"Our mission is the disruption and elimination of criminal motorcycle gangs across Queensland,'' he said.
Asked whether more arrests at hotels were likely, Det Supt Niland said: "We intend to take action each and every time. We will not be backing down.''
Tony Jardine, a spokesman for the Rebels Sunshine Coast chapter, rejected Det Supt Niland's claims.
"If the 'face of organised crime' only accounts for 0.36% of all crime, then Australia has got very little to worry about from organised crime," he said.
"Over time, Rebels go to a couple of pubs here and there. We mainly stay in our clubhouses.
"We frown on anyone who provides drugs to kids.''
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE? THE POLICE OR THE REBELS?
HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW AND VOTE IN OUR POLL
Who do you believe? Police or the rebels?
This poll ended on 20 December 2013.
Police. Rebels are involved in serious criminal behaviour
Rebels. Police are making this up
Don't know yet
I think both sides are in a public relations war
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Aims to disrupt and eliminate criminal motorcycle gangs in Queensland.
Says it can also use Queensland's US-style laws to combat Asian crime gangs
Has its own criminal economy unit targeting "unexplained wealth", including drug dealing and extortion
Has a whole-of-government team spanning everything from fair trading to probation
Detectives are based in Brisbane and the Gold Coast but move wherever reports of outlaw motorcycle gang activities occur
Work with regional detectives to combat drug-dealing gangs
Using CCTV surveillance footage from interstate to piece together who's who in the gangs
In 2012, 44 active outlaw motorcycle gangs operated, involving 4483 people (excluding associates and prospects)
The Rebels is the largest motorcycle club in Australia.