So far, only 10 charges have been laid under Queensland’s Vicious Lawless Associates Disestablishment (VLAD) Act and various amendments to other laws … and a “TCB” patch confiscated.
Deputy Police Commissioner Brett Pointing seems to think that is the measure of success that justifies the draconian laws which have stomped on the civil rights of all citizens and led to the harassment of hundreds of innocent bikers.
Meanwhile, almost 400 alleged criminal gang members have been arrested and charged with 817 offences under the laws that were already in place.
Pointing told a meeting on Tuesday with recreational bike clubs that there are 1100 “outlaw bikies” in Queensland and 2500 “associates” that they know about and are searching for. With only 400 so far arrested, this anti-bikie “war” is set for a long run.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart couldn’t provide a definition for what constitutes an associate, but says they are known to police. However, since the ban on public display of patches and “paraphernalia”, and public gatherings of three or more declared outlaw gang members, the alleged criminals have gone underground, making it more difficult for police to find them. Consequently, innocent recreational bikies are suffering the harassment of roadside strip searches and ID checks.
While the police aren’t saying what the 10 VLAD charges are, here’s one, according to the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland:
“A member of an OMC in NSW contacted Raptor, the NSW police anti-‘bikie’ squad and told them he was getting married in Queensland and wanted to make sure he and his guests wouldn’t breach any of the new laws. First, a number of his guests & in the bridal party could not attend because they would breach section 60A of the Qld. Criminal Code (more than 2 members of a ‘declared club’ being in a public area). He then had his wedding and a few days’ honeymoon on Hamilton Island at an exclusive resort. As he and his new wife were leaving the resort in the resort people mover, they had gone about 200 metres on the way to the airport, when they were stopped by a police roadblock. They were ordered out of the vehicle and both searched. (There is no obvious power to search the wife.) In his wallet a business card with the name of a declared club was found and in his toiletries a patch with the letters ‘TCB’ was found. He had forgotten that they were there. After being arrested he was finally released. However, a few days after returning to their home in NSW he received a Notice to Attend court in Proserpine. He had been charged with possessing a prohibited item under the Qld. Liquor Act. He was to appear in court a couple of days ago, but his solicitors had previously had the matter adjourned to 16/12, although they tried to have it adjourned to early next year. They live on an isolated property about 4 hours north of Sydney. The 16/12 is the day his wife, probably, gets released from hospital after a serious operation. She needs him to take care of herself as she will be unable to. The same day he must appear in court in Queensland. AND, this will be the first mention and if the police say he is a member of a ‘declared club’ he must be bail refused and have his bail application sent to Brisbane to be heard by the Chief Magistrate. Being a member of a ‘declared club’ plays no part in the charge and the police have Buckley’s chance of getting a conviction for a variety of reasons. Oh, and he has NO criminal record. For having a business card in his wallet and a small patch in his toiletries he faces an unknown amount of days in gaol before he even gets to argue for bail. Then if bail is refused he again faces an unknown amount of gaol time for a small nothing kind of an alleged offence, which the police can’t win and his wife will be left on her own, after leaving hospital, at an isolated property, while waiting for his case to be heard. Tell me; does this stink or what?”
The police claim that the anti-bikie crackdown has so far reaped a “haul” of six firearms, two drug labs, two stolen cars and $22,000 in cash.
They forgot to mention a business card and a patch with “TCB” for “taking care of business” which usually means violence done to uphold the honour of the club. By the way, you can buy one of those patches on eBay for $US3.65, but it could also cost you your freedom.