Gardai on alert as US biker gangs move into Europe
GARDAI are monitoring the activities of Irish Hells Angels-type motorcycle clubs following a warning from the European police agency, EUROPOL, about the arrival in large numbers of criminal motorcycle clubs from the United States, Canada and Australia.
EUROPOL issued a statement last week saying that the arrival of Comancheros and Rebels from Australia, Rock Machine from Canada, plus Mongols and Vagos from the US has created "tension with established outlaw motorcycle clubs in Europe".
The agency estimated that there are now some 700 American and Australian motorcycle club members established in Europe. It is believed that there is contact with Irish-based criminal motorcycle clubs.
Sources say there are a number of serious criminal figures here involved with the clubs and gardai have investigated a number of serious assaults involving members.
The Australian and US motorcycle clubs have come under pressure from police because of their involvement in drugs, extortion and prostitution.
EUROPOL said the arrival of the new gangs is already creating tensions in Holland, adding that the arrival of two groups from Australia, one major club from Canada and three from the United States "has brought fear of intergroup conflicts in Europe".
The agency said the new gangs' intention is to "increase their role in particular criminal markets by opening chapters in strategic locations, for instance along the trafficking routes for drugs, weapons and human beings".
It added: "Merely establishing a chapter on the 'turf' of another OMCG [Outlaw Motorcycle Gang] is interpreted as an act of provocation and is likely to result in violent confrontations and retaliation.
"The 'Nordic Biker Wars' of the 1990s serve as a compelling example of the capacity for extreme violence resulting from an increased concentration of OMCGs in Europe," the agency said.