Bikies warned: You can run but you can’t hide
The expansion of outlaw motorcycle clubs offshore and the growing number of gang members living abroad does not put them out of reach, according to the federal boss of the national anti-gangs squad.
The Australian arms of outlaw gangs such as the Comanchero, Rebels, Bandidos and Hells Angels have pushed into South-East Asia and Europe to gain a deeper footing in organised crime, including drug and gun importation.
The Comanchero, an Australian formed gang which has been expanding internationally in the past decade, has been patching members in the USA and Canada.
But National Anti-Gangs Squad taskforce boss Detective Superintendent Jason McArthur said it was preparing for a surge in international bikie travel once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and it stood ready with its international partners to disrupt their criminal activities.
"Just because a criminal groups such as OMCGs have relocated, or have established offshore, it does not mean the National Anti Gangs Squad and our law enforcement partners cannot reach them.'' Superintendent McArthur said.
"AFP work closely with partners to disrupt the lives of Australian criminals living abroad.''
Prominent current and former Comanchero such as Mark Buddle, Duax Ngakaru and Jay Malkoun are among high-ranking bikies who live or have previously resided abroad while remaining active members.
Another senior Comanchero, Hasan Topal, is the most recent bikie to head to Europe.
Superintendent McArthur said the gangs were attracted to South East Asia where they can recruit a diverse membership, hold meetings and look to expand their criminal networks.
"OMCGs are a threat in South East Asia and Australia due to their recognised transnational organised crime links, criminal activities, local and international networks,'' he said.
"OMCGs have developed offshore bases to expand their clubs and direct and control their transnational criminal activities including the movement of border controlled drugs.
"Despite being offshore, OMCG are still attempting to cause harm to the Australian community.''
He said the Australian Federal Police and its international partners stood ready to target, disrupt and dismantle criminal gangs both within Australia and abroad.
Among the tactics employed is to target the wealth of bikie members, often displayed on social media, and their means of operating abroad, including mitigating the use of hi-tech encrypted communications.
Originally published as Bikies warned: You can run but you can't hide