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Sunday, 13 December 2009

new drug-peddling Canadian bikie gang called Rock Machine is threatening to establish its presence in Western Australia


"The Rock Machine outlaw motorcycle gang, like all outlaw motorcycle gangs represent a real and present threat to the Australian community," he said.new drug-peddling Canadian bikie gang called Rock Machine is threatening to establish its presence in Western Australia, beginning with a national run through Perth this weekend.Detective Superintendent Kim Papalia from the gang crime squad said Rock Machine - whose members are renowned for their violence and extortion - was re-emerging as a force in the USA and Australia after being absorbed by the Bandidos gang about nine years ago.Detective Papalia would not say how many members were in WA or how many would be embarking on the run, but he said Rock Machine posed a "significant public safety risk" and could lead to an "increase in tensions" with rival gangs. He was also tight-lipped about where Rock Machine would base itself in Perth.He said police had begun approaching people believed to be involved with the club, and hinted police could take a similar line to that adopted when the Finks went on their run through Perth several weeks ago."We don't know what they intend to do (in Perth) at the moment," Detective Papalia said, adding members from Canada could be involved in the run.Meanwhile, gang crime detectives hailed the "Phone in a bikie" campaign on June 23 a success and said it would be repeated next year after 400 calls yielded information that saw about $11 million in illicit drugs taken off Perth streets.
About 69 members of motorcycle clubs and their associates were charged by police and faced a total of 189 offences - including 43 for drug trafficking.
Rock Machine was formed in Montreal, Canada in the early 1990s and then spread its wings across the province of Quebec.Rock Machine was initially a drug-dealing organisation when it was started up byindependent drug dealers and notorious Montreal crime families.The group was set up to thwart one of the world's oldest bikie gangs, the Hells Angels, from trying to take over Montreal's street-level drug scene.What ensued was a bitter rivalry between Rock Machine - whose ethnicity comprised mostly French-Canadian members - and the Hells Angels between 1994 and 2002 in which 150 people were killed.As a result of the bloody turf war, Rock Machine turned into a motorcycle gang and it soon formed an alliance with the Texas-based Bandidos.Unlike other clubs that took pride in wearing leather vests bearing identifying patches, Rock Machine members were said to have only worn rings with the sign of an eagle on them.Detective Papalia confirmed some members wore such rings, but he would not speculate on the reasons why they would do this.
"They're an interesting organisation within the culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs," he said. "We are aware they wear different types of paraphernalia."In 2000, when the Bandidos took over Rock Machine, several members defected to the Hells Angels when the Bandidos did not grant full patch-wearing membership status to Rock Machine's junior members.The extent of Rock Machine's presence in Australia is not officially known. However, one suspected associate of the group was arrested in Sydney earlier this year after he allegedly drove a stretched limousine into a car and a shed and then assaulted police.Now, Rock Machine has an Australian chapter in Sydney as well as a presence across several states in the USA and Canada, but no longer in its old stomping ground of Quebec.Detective Papalia would not confirm if police sought information from their NSW counterparts or the Australian Crime Commission on Rock Machine, but said all law enforcement agencies both nationally and overseas constantly share information.He said he could not explain why Rock Machine - like dozens of other motorcycle clubs before them - became attracted to Perth."The Rock Machine outlaw motorcycle gang like all outlaw motorcycle gangs represent a threat to community safety," he said."They impact on public health through drug distribution and they also impact on the risk in the community through their overt and active involvement in violence and extortion."We will police Rock Machine on behalf of the community of this State to get that clear message, 'not here, not ever'."
Australian Crime Commission chief executive John Lawler said the agency refused to comment on the specific activities of criminal groups, including motorcycle clubs.


"Outlaw motorcycle gangs remain a visible criminal threat and continue to be quite rightly targeted by law enforcement throughout the country."

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