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Oz loses it: Bikers-only prisons?

2013-10-17 08:57

TREATED WORSE THAN RAPISTS: Australian biker gangs, allegedly linked to organised crime, will face prison conditions different to those of rapists and murderers as new laws in Queensland come into effect. Image: AP

"Prison time, no access to gym facilities or TV and their motorcycles destroyed." Tough new laws to combat biker gangs were passed in Australia. What's more, those found guilty will be incarcerated in a bikers-only jail!

SYDNEY, Australia – Earlier in 2013, Wheels24 reported that new laws were being drafted in Queensland, Australia to ban motorcyclists riding in groups of three or more to stop them using large groups of riders for intimidation.

In October 2013 tough new laws to combat biker gangs were passed in Queensland as authorities seek "to destroy these criminal organisations" that, the authorities claim, are "a growing menace across the country".

BIKERS-ONLY PRISON

Biker gangs, allegedly linked to organised crime, particularly drugs and guns, are said to be an increasing problem in Australia. The alleged "brazen violence and intimidation" on the Gold Coast tourist strip proved the final straw for Queensland politicians and state parliament legislation was unanimously passed, including mandatory sentences of 15 years or more for crimes committed as part of gang activity, in addition to the usual penalty for the offence.

Those found guilty also face incarceration in a bikers-only prison with no gym facilities or TV access and having their motorcycles destroyed. Guilty riders will also be banned from owning or working in tattoo parlours.

‘GOING TO HUNT YOU DOWN’

Queensland's premier, Campbell Newman, said: "The unequivocal purpose of these laws is to destroy these criminal organisations. This is not some flash-in-the-pan or momentary phase. We are going to hunt you down."

Newman suggested to bikers: "Take off your colours, get a real job, act like decent, law-abiding human beings and become proper citizens in the state of Queensland and you will not have to go to jail."

The legislation names 26 "criminal organisations", among them well-known gangs such as the Bandidos, Hell's Angels, Rebels, Finks and lesser-knowns such as  Muslim Brotherhood, Iron Horsemen, Mongols, Fourth Reich, and Life and Death.

Newman said: "These are not lovable rascals and ruffians. That's their spin. That's the way they've been trying to present themselves for many, many years. Neither are they just free spirits who love to ride motorcycles. They are criminals."

CRACKDOWN ON BIKERS

While the laws only affect activity in Queensland, a crackdown on bikers is occurring across Australia with more than 700 police swooping on the Hell's Angels earlier in October 2013 in Melbourne during a series of heavily-armed raids.

Earlier in 2013, police launched a series of similar dawn raids across Sydney targeting motorcycle gangs and allegedly seizing firearms, explosives and drugs.

Experts say increased biker violence stems from turf wars over drug distribution, particularly of methamphetamine or "ice". The gangs are also allegedly involved in the distribution of firearms and explosives, with links to Balkan and Asian organised crime groups.

RIDICULOUS LAWS

While having no brief for 'biker gangs', Wheels24 thinks Newman has gone beyond reality, knee-jerking to the pull of voters' strings. These ridiculous "laws" surely cannot stand in an appeal court should bikers be found guilty.

Banned from working in a tattoo shop? Not allowed to wear badges/bandanas? Prison conditions different to those of rapists and murderers? What do you readers think? Email us and we’ll publish your thoughts on
Wheels24.

Oz law: Bikers' freedom at stake

‘Human rights will be violated, not to mention friendships ruined,’ says Wheels24 reader SCHALK COETZEE as Australia considered a ban on motorcyclists riding in groups of three or more.

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Read more on:    australia  |  motorcycle  |  bikers  |  riders  |  gangs

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