Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome to Oculto CafĂ© – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon.


GLASSES shoot across tabletops, busty vamps serve blood-red cocktails, and twisted locals raise a toast to an image of Aleister Crowley. Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon. The bar is situated in a maze of narrow, winding streets in the ancient ‘Old Town’ district. Stepping outside for a Marlboro, I scan my surroundings. It’s a chilly, moonlit night and the streets are deserted. Strain your ears, however, and you’ll hear muffled voices coming from dark balconies. It’s like a scene from Interview with the Vampire. As I re-enter, the room falls silent. A cross-eyed chap stares at me… well, I think it’s me… it’s hard to tell. Had my gothic guy-liner run, or had he caught a whiff of fresh meat? In this insular atmosphere, I feel as welcome as Gary Glitter at Tivoli World! Forget fruit machines and pool tables, it’s ouija boards and tarot cards that keep these punters amused. A little weakened, I seize a newspaper and hide in the corner. Alongside ads for ‘Black Angels’ and ‘Colombian Swallowers’, the classifieds are swarming with clairvoyants. I’m shocked! Isn’t Spain supposed to be a God-fearing country? But the truth is, up until the Inquisition (1478), Iberia was a hotbed of magic and sorcery. With the coming of Catholicism, however, mystics – including ‘witches’ and ‘healers’ were round-up and executed. For survival’s sake, Spaniards severed their ties with the ‘other side.’ Today, however, there is growing evidence that Spain is returning to its supernatural roots. Church-going is down (just 14.4%), and stories of Satanism are everywhere. In March 2011, an Almerian church was littered with satanic scrawls. Investigators claimed that the site had been used for a “black mass.” Tenerife’s Arona Cemetery has also been targeted by sinister cults. In 2008, graves were desecrated and animals sacrificed during “bizarre nocturnal rituals”. For sceptics, it’s easy to blame rebellious youth or drug-addicts for these atrocities. However, as someone who’s experienced dark forces – first hand – I try to keep an open mind. It all started in 2001 when I was filming a documentary at Devon’s Berry Pomeroy. In the castle grounds, I indivertibly captured an inhuman figure on camera.  Whilst replaying the footage to BBC colleagues, the office computers went wild. In 2009, I moved my family to a 15th century cottage on the West Pennine Moors. Unbeknown to us, our ‘dream house’ was built on a Quaker burial site. During our six-month stay – we endured stamping noises, icy chills and orbs zipping round the lounge. At night, the constant thumping would deprive us of sleep, and we’d trudge into work like a couple of zombies. However, my most recent spooking occurred right here in Andalucia. One evening, I watched a can of Asturiana cider move sideways, hover and then drop off the table! Earlier that day, an old drinking buddy had been buried in Devon – was this his final ‘chin-chin’? Whatever it was, it scared the bejesus out of my missus and she hasn’t slept properly since. Two weeks on, and we’re sitting in Oculto, trying not to blush at orgy paintings. After some Dutch courage, I enquire about a séance at the bar. A black-toothed midget points towards a battered wooden door. Timidly, I wander down the corridor and knock on wood. It’s opened by a raven-haired gypsy. She’s both beautiful and grotesque: Penelope Cruz’s mum meets the Bride of Chucky. Without speaking – she beckons me in with a long, black talon. With low ceilings, purple walls and an absence of windows – the room is claustrophobic and unsettling. Under flickering candlelight, the Victorian death portraits seem to eyeball you from the walls. But it’s the cold air and fetid stench that’s really sending shivers down my spine. The woman glides over to a monolithic Ouija board and orders me to sit. She lays out a clutch of cards, including The Hanged Man, The Fool, The Stig, Jeremy Clarkson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Boy George. Okay… I lied about Boy George – but it’s all the scary ones! Suddenly, my stomach churns and I shout ‘Stop!’ I apologise for wasting her time – but I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. A floating cider is hardly The Ring – so why risk opening a fresh can of worms? I chat to Jose, a Pepe Reina lookalike in his late 20s. Around us, weirdoes chuck darts at an image of the Pope (only joking….it’s Desmond Tutu!) Jose is erudite and speaks fine English. Over Osbourne brandies, I pose the question: “So….Are you a Satanist?” “Of course”! Jose replies: Usually, I’d grab my coat, but by now, I’m immune to the madness. After dispelling myths of “priest-beating” and “baby-eating”, Jose insists that Satanists are “Perfectly normal.” Apparently, the only difference is they choose “indulgence over abstinence’, and prefer “vengeance” to forgiveness. Oh…..and they enjoy kinky sex and coke-snorting – but hey… so does the cast of Skins. By 1am I’m craving a Horlicks and a late night snack. I thank Jose and wish him a “hell-of-a-life.” We leave Occulto and hot-foot it to the Corredera for a greasy kebab. After filling our faces, we clamber into a taxi. We’re only 10-minutes from the hotel – but I’m bloated on beer and lamb offal. Back at the room, Jose’s words haunt me. Having spent the last five hours binge-drinking, ogling rude pictures and eating crap – could I be accused of “indulgence”? If Christianity equals modesty, chastity and turning the other cheek, what about all those times I’ve bought designer togs, belted a thug or lusted over lesbians? Perhaps I’m more Satanic than I thought? By bedtime, I’d seen no demons, virgin sacrifices or people snacking on goats’ head soup. This said, not everyone was as friendly as Jose, and the yokels at the bar seemed quite menacing. I’ve yet to decide whether Satanists are ordinary folk – daring to be different, or psychopaths to be avoided at all costs. I DO know, however, that pentangles are not for me. For one – I like animals too much to put their heads on sticks – and secondly, I root for the “goodies” when it kicks off on Buffy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Occulto and found the experience enlightening. Whatever they are (or aren’t), there’s a pub full of them in Cordoba, and if you ever feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you know where to head.

Body found in boot of crashed car on Alicante motorway


Firemen called out to an accident on the A-31 Alicante-Madrid motorway early on Monday found an unidentified body in the boot of a car which had crashed into the central reservation at Sax and then burst into flames. The body was partially burnt but appears to be that of a man. Reports indicate that the deceased had been tied up and gagged. No other occupants were found at the site and the Civil Guard are now trying to identify the victim and the cause of death.

Hells Angels have had a rough year in California.


The Hells Angels have had a rough year in California. Three Northern California members have died violently in the last month amid a turf battle with a rival biker gang. And law enforcement officials on both ends of the motorcycle club's home state are pursuing and jailing members, with 26 Angels and their associates arrested recently in San Diego. The violence spilled into public view in the unlikeliest of places two weeks ago when thousands of Harley-Davidsons rolled up to a San Jose cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon to bury a Hells Angels leader who was gunned down weeks earlier in a Nevada casino. A Hells Angel allegedly shot and killed a fellow member at the cemetery and fled — the latest sign of the in-fighting and violence that has plagued the gang in recent months. And if the deadly gunfire were not enough, a member was plowed down by a van a week later near Oakland, the alleged the victim of road rage. While no one is predicting the demise of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, law enforcement officials and gang experts said the Hells Angels' recent woes still stand out for an organization they describe as violent, sophisticated and disciplined with loyal-to-the-death members. "They are the heavyweight champions of the biker gang culture," said Jay Dobyns, an agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona for two years beginning in 2001. "And every other biker gang wants the belt." The organization has a long history in California, dating to its founding in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana and including a notorious incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969 in which a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. A jury later acquitted the killer, finding he acted in self defense. The U.S. Department of Justice says the Hells Angels now have as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters in 26 countries, and are a major source of drug-trafficking. Federal, state and local police have pursued the club for decades, infiltrating it with undercover agents, prosecuting suspects with harsh charges once reserved for the Mafia and indicting members on charges ranging from drug trafficking to mortgage fraud. Yet the club flourished. They opened chapters worldwide, aggressively enforced their trademarks in court like a responsible Wall Street corporation and won high-profile acquittals and other legal battles with law enforcement. The ATF, which handles many federal biker cases, said it arrested more outlaw motorcycle gang members last year than any other since 2003. Police in Germany, Canada and elsewhere also report a surge in motorcycle gang violence, with much of it connected to the Hells Angels. The California Hells Angels' current problems are partly rooted in a battle with the Vagos, a California-based motorcycle club founded in the 1960s. The clubs have been bitter enemies dating at least back a decade to a violent 2001 confrontation at a Costa Mesa swap meet. "These groups are trying to expand their membership and dominance," said Kent Shaw, the California Attorney General's acting head of law enforcement. "There's going to be a number of clashes and it seems to have gotten worse over the last couple years. It seems to be coming to a flash point." After dozens of Vagos took over a bar in Lakeport, Calif., and rode their motorcycles up and down the main drag, officials went so far as to close the downtown to traffic on May 14. Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero said the Vagos were making a statement about controlling the region after one of its members was allegedly beaten by Hells Angels earlier in the year. So Rivero put up a road block that day after the California Highway Patrol and FBI warned that Hells Angels were traveling toward town. The Angels turned back before reaching the road block. But now the district attorney is investigating whether the sheriff violated the club members' civil rights with his plans to stop them. The sheriff is unapologetic. "It's a basic response," Rivero said. "I'm not going to tolerate gang violence in Lake County." A month later, a Vagos member and a friend were severely beaten in a casino. Four Hells Angels have been charged with assault. Three were arrested and the sheriff said they were bailed out by fellow Angel Steve Tausan, who owned a bail bonds company. A fourth is being sought. In September, the two gangs fought again. San Jose Angels leader Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew was slain during a wild shootout with rival Vagos in a Reno-area casino on Sept. 23. It was at Pettigrew's burial where more violence occurred. Two shots were fired, and Tausan, Pettigrew's good friend and high-ranking Angel, lay bleeding with a mortal wound. Police suspect fellow Angel Steve Ruiz of firing on Tausan after they argued over the casino shooting and whether enough was done to protect Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose chapter. Police are now searching for Ruiz, who reportedly was hustled into a waiting car, leaving behind his motorcycle. Investigators initially feared Ruiz was killed and went so far as to dig up Pettigrew's grave in search of a body. But now police believe he is on the run with his girlfriend. San Jose police were out in force Saturday as Tausan was laid to rest at the same cemetery where he was killed during the Oct. 15 funeral. A police spokesman said there were no reports of any disturbances or violence. The Hells Angels didn't respond to numerous phone calls and email messages sent to their clubhouses in San Jose and Santa Cruz, where Tausan served as the chapter's sergeant at arms. The Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate because of the crimes of a few members acting independently. The club participates in charity events, such as "Toys for Tots" motorcycle runs and blood drives. "When we do right, nobody remembers," the club's Web site states. "When we do wrong, nobody forgets." Karen Snell, a lawyer who won a $1.8 million settlement in 2005 after the San Jose chapter filed a lawsuit claiming illegal police searches during a murder investigation, said Pettigrew, Tausan and the others involved with the case were serious businessmen with families. "They were really responsible clients," Snell said. "In my all my interactions with them, they were always gentlemen." Now Pettigrew and Tausan are dead. "We lost our brother, our father, our son and our friend," said Karen Tausan, Steve's sister. "He left a big hole in our family and we can only hope this will come to an end now."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Funeral held for Hells Angel killed at fellow biker's burial begins


The only gunfire at the funeral of Hells Angel Steve Tausan on Saturday came as a salute from the U.S. Marine honor guard. The former Marine, professional boxer and legendary biker was memorialized Saturday morning at Jubilee Christian Church before being buried at Oak Hill Memorial cemetery in San Jose -- exactly two weeks after he was shot and killed at the funeral of another member of the motorcycle club. Although about 1,000 bikers rumbled in from all quarters, there was no trouble, dissension or arrests. There were only bear hugs, tears and memories of the Santa Cruz "enforcer" who called himself Mr. 187, after the penal code for murder. On top of Sunrise Hill they buried his red-and-white casket in the Hells Angels tradition -- by shovel. Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angel and an iconic figure in the club, tossed one of the last shovels of earth on the grave, as a police helicopter circled overhead. "They said they would have a quiet, respectful funeral and then they were going to leave town," said acting Capt. Jeff Marozick, the commander of the San Jose Police Department's special operations who had negotiated details of the funeral with the notorious biker club. "Everything they said is what they did." Amid the heavy police presence, Saturday's somber service was relatively smaller and peaceful, in sharp contrast to the huge and chaotic funeral of Jeff "Jethro" Pettigrew. That Advertisement service drew more than 3,000 bikers. Before Pettigrew could be buried, Tausan, a Santa Cruz resident, was fatally wounded during a bloody biker battle with another Hells Angel. Aside from the odd arrest of an individual member, the notorious outlaw motorcycle club has been out of the headlines in the South Bay for years. But in recent weeks, the shooting deaths of Pettigrew and Tausan, the continued search for suspect Steven Ruiz and the bizarre traffic homicide of an East Bay member have put a hot spotlight on the Hells Angel, which law enforcement views as a criminal gang. The Hells Angels have long denied this, and many members have reacted to the recent events with dismay. But the violent way Tausan died was not mentioned at his sentimental service. It was his colorful life they talked about, as an eclectic soundtrack from Tausan's favorite performers -- James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughn and gospel singers -- reverberated through the big hall. "He was an imposing man," said the Rev. Dick Bernal during the service at Jubilee. "But underneath the muscles and the tattoos beat the heart of a man, the heart of a brother." Bikers from Tausan's home club, along with Henchmen, Devils Dolls and many others from as far away as New England and abroad, made up a long line of mourners. They paid their last respects as he lay in the casket, draped with an American flag and custom painted with the Angels' death's head with wings and the Marine Corps insignia. Tausan was clad in his leather Hells Angels vest, with a pack of Marlboros and an extended combat knife in his folded hands. Next to the casket, there was a blown-up photo of him as a young Marine, his military haircut in stark contrast to the long, silvery mane he sported when he died. Also arrayed around the casket were pictures of Tausan on his Victory motorcycle and with his friends and family. Tausan was better known than most Angels because of the charges he faced in the 1997 beating death of a man at the Pink Poodle strip club in San Jose. He was acquitted. But to the Hells Angels and others, the gregarious and intense man was bigger than life. "His love for his family and his friends in the club was undeniable," Bernal said. "If Steve loved you, you never had to guess. If he didn't love you, you never had to guess." Bernal recalled that Tausan once summoned him to his bail bondsman's office so the two of them could view a 90-minute DVD of James Brown and opera great Luciano Pavarotti performing together. Tausan turned to Bernal and said, "Wasn't that the greatest thing you've ever seen?" Bernal said he agreed, then paused for effect. "You don't disagree with Steve." That drew an appreciative laugh from the crowd.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Qantas grounds all flights


Australia’s Qantas Airways grounded its entire fleet on Saturday over a bitter labour dispute in an unprecedented move that prompted the government to warn it feared for the airline’s future and would seek action to end the dispute. EDITOR’S CHOICE Strikes cost A$15m-a week in lost sales - Oct-28 US airlines earnings hit by fuel costs - Oct-27 Lufthansa scales back passenger forecasts - Oct-27 Virgin eyes tie-up with Etihad on BMI - Oct-14 Qantas overhauls lossmaking international operations - Aug-16 Qantas said it would lock out all employees from Monday night in a dispute affecting 70,000 passengers and 600 flights on one of the country’s biggest travel weekends. The grounding does not affect Qantas’ budget airline Jetstar or code-share flights on other airlines. Passengers will get a full refund for flights cancelled due to the industrial action, Qantas said on its website. Customers can also rebook their flights for a later date. The announcement took passengers and the government by surprise, embarrassing Prime Minister Julia Gillard who was hosting a Commonwealth leaders summit in Perth. Some of those leaders are booked to fly home on Sunday with Qantas. Unions, from pilots to caterers, have taken strike action since September over pay and opposing Qantas plans to cut its soaring costs, as it looks at setting up two new airlines in Asia and cutting back financially draining long-haul flights. “They are trashing our strategy and our brand. They are deliberately destabilising the company. Customers are now fleeing from us,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said.

Hells Angels feud leaves trail of death and destruction


The bloody turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle club called the Vagos, has also led to shoot outs in the neighbouring states of Nevada and Arizona. According to the US Justice Department both the Hells Angels and the Vagos are "outlaw" gangs involved in drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and money laundering. The current spate of bloodshed between them can be traced to a disagreement at a Stabucks in the beach town of Santa Cruz last year. A brawl in which some participants wielded ball-peen hammers erupted outside the coffee shop before police arrived and bikers scattered. That led to a gunfight in the northern Arizona town of Chino Valley which left five people wounded and 27 under arrest.

Two killed in biker gang war started over Starbucks


TWO men have been killed and a number wounded in a turf war between two California biker gangs that began over who got to hang out at Starbucks. The San Jose Hells Angels has clashed with the rival Vagos gang in a series of violent incidents in the state. In the latest, senior Hells Angel Steven Tausan, 52, was shot and killed by a fellow member in an apparent quarrel, the Telegraph reports. That shooting occurred at the funeral of the chapter’s captain Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, who was killed at a casino last month.  Security is tight for Tausan’s funeral tomorrow, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The row began in January 2010 when Hells Angels and Vagos members fought with hammers outside a Starbucks in Santa Cruz. Local deputy police chief Steve Clark told Reuters: “It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown,” adding that the Vagos had made an attempt to gain control of the area. “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes,” Clark added. The conflict escalated in August last year, when the two gangs exchanged gunfire near a house in Prescott, Arizona, where CBS reports the Hells Angels were having a party. At least five people were wounded and 27 arrested after the incident.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A LARGE crowd of Rebels Motorcycle Club members turned out at St Peter's Cathedral yesterday for the funeral of a member.


Rebels comfort each other outside St Peter's Cathedral. Picture: Dean Martin

Dozens of motorbikes lined Pennington Tce, North Adelaide, as more than 100 people gathered for the 1.30pm service for James Sean "Pappa" Petterson.

Members of rival motorcycle clubs, including the Finks, also attended the service.

A convoy of Rebels members on motorcycles were given a police escort to the service and flanked the hearse as it left the cathedral.

Uniformed and plainclothes police kept a watchful eye over proceedings from outside

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tony Mokbel supergrass set for $1 million reward


THE drug dealer who dobbed in crime boss Tony Mokbel is likely to be paid Victoria's first $1 million reward. He has already escaped being charged over his prominent role in Mokbel's gang, which included helping Mokbel organise a false passport to flee Australia. But veteran underworld figure Billy Longley yesterday warned the "grass" who fingered Mokbel would have to keep looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. "A lot of people have gone to jail because of him, including Mokbel," Mr Longley said. "Such people have long memories and will want revenge." The previous biggest amount paid out by Victoria Police was a $100,000 reward in 1991. There are nine other $1 million rewards up for grabs at present. The police informer in the Mokbel case, codenamed 3030, was a key member of Mokbel's drug syndicate, known as The Company, as well as a drug user. Fat Tony doomed by his greed for speed Fat Tony doomed by his greed for speed Herald Sun, 1 hour ago Fat Tony drops legal bid for freedom Courier Mail, 1 day ago Fight to seize Mokbel's drug millions Herald Sun, 4 Oct 2011 Prosecutors set sights on Mokbel millions Courier Mail, 4 Oct 2011 Man jailed for helping Mokbel escape Herald Sun, 5 Sep 2011 He turned on Mokbel, and his other fellow gang members, soon after Victoria Police offered the $1 million bounty to find Mokbel in April 2007. Purana gangland killing taskforce detectives persuaded 3030 to work for them inside The Company. Information provided by 3030 resulted in multiple arrests of members of The Company, including Mokbel in Greece on June 5, 2007. The informer is a significant step closer to being paid the $1 million, as Mokbel is due in court tomorrow for a pre-sentence hearing. Mokbel pleaded guilty in April to drug charges relating to his masterminding The Company while on the run in Victoria and Greece. A Victoria Police spokesman yesterday confirmed the process of deciding on the reward would begin at the end of a 28-day appeal period after Mokbel's sentencing. Supreme Court judge Justice Betty King already has described 3030's assistance to police as "invaluable". And police have paid tribute to 3030, saying he played a vital role in helping them to locate and arrest Mokbel. Apart from providing telephone numbers so police could bug phones of Company members, including Mokbel's, 3030 helped identify people in The Company's business as well as the houses, hotels and storages they were using. Information provided to Purana by 3030 enabled officers to put recording and listening devices in The Company's cars, houses and storages, as well as bug phones. He also assisted police in introducing undercover operatives into The Company. With 3030's co-operation, Purana detectives were able to find Mokbel and arrest nine of The Company gang members in Melbourne on the same day Mokbel was picked up in Greece. Raids on Victorian properties associated with The Company led to the seizure of amphetamines, cocaine, precursor chemicals used to make amphetamines, drug-making equipment valued at more than $500,000, and almost $800,000 in cash. The informer also helped police to identify properties The Company bought with drug money, which enabled their seizure. Lawyers acting for Joseph Mansour, one of The Company members convicted as a result of 3030 turning police informer, queried the lack of charges against 3030. In jailing Mansour for 10 years, Justice King said: "Your counsel referred to the fact 3030 is not charged in respect of these activities, which is not surprising, as a number of these activities that he undertook were at the behest of the police to gather evidence. "His assistance in identifying and breaking this very large conspiracy could be described as invaluable."

top bike-club enforcer nicknamed "Mr. 187'' after the state penal code number for murder was gunned down Saturday in front of stunned spectators.


Despite a heavy police presence at a Hells Angels funeral Saturday, a top bike-club enforcer nicknamed "Mr. 187'' after the state penal code number for murder was gunned down Saturday in front of stunned spectators. Multiple sources told this newspaper the victim was Steve Tausan, a notorious sergeant-at-arms for the Santa Cruz chapter of the club suspected of killing another biker years ago. Sources said the incident Saturday was an inter-club squabble set off when Tausan punched a fellow biker and the biker retaliated by shooting him. A photographer for this newspaper saw other Hells Angels jump the shooter. Police declined to comment, saying only that there had been a shooting at the Oak Hill Cemetery. The funeral at the cemetery was for fellow Hells Angel Jethro Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter of the club, who was shot in a Sparks, Nev., casino by a member of the rival Vagos club. Townsend told a reporter that shortly after Pettigrew was killed that he had received death threats. Police and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office are now guarding the Hells Angels headquarters in San Jose, as well as other locations where bikers gather.

Hells Angels and Bandidos club members ''own nightspots in Thailand tourist centres that have become popular haunts for bikies worldwide


Australian bikies with dubious reputations are now infiltrating Thailand and gang members have opened businesses on Phuket, reports an Australian newspaper. Hells Angels and Bandidos club members ''own nightspots in Thailand tourist centres that have become popular haunts for bikies worldwide,'' reports the Courier-Mail newspaper, which is based in the northern Australian state of Queensland. Members of the Bandidos - who acquired four new chapters in Indonesia during ''Bandidos Bali Bike Week'' earlier this year - are looking to set up business as far afield as Japan, a Queensland police source told the newspaper. Thailand was significant as a source of chemicals for drug manufacture and trafficking and scrutiny of the travels of Gold Coast bikies' travel would show ''a lot of trips'' to the country, the officer said. ''A lot of them are looking into Thailand - it gives them the opportunity to source pharmaceuticals. Hells Angels and Bandidos have got premises in Thailand. ''Of course, the Finks [another prominent bikie club] can't be left behind and they're looking too.'' The newspaper names one bar in Patong and another on Koh Samui as having been purchased by bikies with Hells Angels connections. The newspaper report on bikie connections on Phuket and in Asia is part of a series on the activities of Australian gangs at home and overseas. It's titled 'Bikie Inc, Organised Crime on the Glitter Strip.' Some have been involved in alleged property scams on Phuket, the report says. Danish, British and Norwegian bikie gang members have also been connected to the activities of Australian gang members, the report adds. Phuket expat motorcycle riders have always distanced themselves from gang activities and drugs and drawn the distinction between bikers and ''bikies.''

Hells Angel member killed at San Jose funeral for fellow biker


Hells Angels member was fatally shot Saturday at the San Jose funeral for a fellow biker who was killed last month at a Nevada casino, police said. The victim, who police have not identified, was shot shortly before 1 p.m. and taken to a hospital where he died about an hour later, said San Jose police spokesman Jose Garcia. No suspect has been arrested and the shooting remains under investigation. The shooting occurred at the funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels, authorities said. The service was held at the Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park and drew an estimated 4,000 people. Pettigrew was attending a motorcycle festival last month when he was shot four times in the back by a member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang during a brawl at a casino in Sparks, Nev. Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez of San Jose was arrested on suspicion of murder. Ten Vagos members were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of drug trafficking and a rash of violence during law enforcement raids throughout the Inland Empire. Garcia said he couldn't speculate whether the San Jose shooting was related to rivalries between the motorcycle gangs. Anticipating a large turnout, police were in the area around the cemetery as a precaution, patrolling and helping with traffic. Garcia declined to say whether police were at the funeral. "We had no credible information suggesting there would be violence," he said.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Outlaw motorcycle clubs attempting to open clubhouses and tattoo parlours in Brisbane's West End and Fortitude Valley


 Surfers Paradise nightclub had been a target for alleged bikie money laundering amid growing business links between powerful Gold Coast bikies and others interstate and overseas. Read more reports in the print edition of The Courier-Mail or explore the Bikie Inc web of intrigue diagrams or the detailed club profiles in our multimedia specials. But outlaw clubs are also targeting Brisbane, where they have tried to open clubhouses and tattoo parlours in West End and Fortitude Valley. Gold Coast's bikie tsars exposed Two hours and $2000 and a gun is yours Nightclub link to bikie money laundering A nascent chapter of Bandidos whose members do not even ride motorcycles is seeking a Valley clubhouse, according to police sources. The development has echoes of the "Notorious" gang in Sydney connected to organised crime figures John Ibrahim and the Sarkis brothers. That group styled itself as a motorcycle club but members - so-called "Nike Bikies" - failed to win recognition from outlaw clubs because they were not sufficiently interested in bikes. Fortitude Valley - despite its historical links to organised crime - was an "untapped area" for outlaw motorcycle clubs, the police source said. The Hells Angels tried last year to find a lease on a new clubhouse in West End. Hells Angels Brisbane president Mark Nelms declined to comment. "It wouldn't matter if you were the Queen of England, we don't comment to anybody," he said. The Bandidos' existing footprint in the Valley includes Valley Ink, a Brunswick St tattoo parlour opened by Gold Coast chapter president Sava Cvetkovic. An underworld source said that a senior member of Highway 61, a club with New Zealand roots, also had sought to open a parlour on West End's Boundary Street. Last week The Courier-Mail revealed that a multimillion-dollar Surfers Paradise nightclub deal had been thwarted after police warned the landlord that it was a front for bikies laundering cash. The bid was bankrolled by a Sydney financier with business and family links to a national franchise chain. The last known attempt at bikie infiltration of Gold Coast nightclubs was when Global Group Security looked at providing bouncers for several clubs about seven years ago.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hells Angel in casino shooting to NV court


Washoe County prosecutors have agreed to postpone the preliminary hearing for the only member of the Hells Angels arrested in last month's fatal gun battle with a rival motorcycle gang at a Sparks casino. Cesar Villagrana had been scheduled to appear in Sparks Justice Court on Wednesday on three felony charges including assault with a deadly weapon. His new court date is Dec. 7. Police say the 36-year-old Gilroy, Calif., man was with San Jose Hells Angels President Jeff Pettigrew the night he was shot to death at John Ascuaga's Nugget. Police say security video shows Villagrana shooting into the crowd. He's currently free on $150,000 bail. A member of the rival Vagos gang is being held in San Francisco on a warrant for Pettigrew's murder.

Members of the Bandidos - who acquired four new chapters in Indonesia during "Bandidos Bali Bike Week" earlier this year - are looking to set up business as far afield as Japan

Bikies Inc rotator


BIKIE Inc Australia is spreading its wings overseas.

Local Hells Angels and Bandidos club members own nightspots in Thailand tourist centres that have become popular haunts for bikies worldwide.

Not to be outdone, members of the notorious Gold Coast chapter of the Finks are trying to follow in their footsteps with their own Thai beachhead, according to police.

Members of the Bandidos - who acquired four new chapters in Indonesia during "Bandidos Bali Bike Week" earlier this year - are looking to set up business as far afield as Japan, a Queensland police source told The Courier-Mail.

Thailand was significant as a source of chemicals for drug manufacture and trafficking and scrutiny of Gold Coast bikies' travel would show "a lot of trips" to the country, the officer said.

"A lot of them are looking into Thailand - it gives them the opportunity to source pharmaceuticals. Hells Angels and Bandidos have got premises in Thailand.

"Of course, the Finks can't be left behind and they're looking too.

"Nationally, the Bandidos are looking to get into Japan. They're already in Asia."

A PLANNED bid for freedom by Melbourne identity Tony Mokbel has been sensationally scrapped.

Tony Mokbel

Tony Mokbel is expected to use a legal loophole to try to beat charges against him. Supplied

Mokbel was expected to use a police stuff-up to try to get off drug charges he has already admitted.

Police sources yesterday revealed that Mokbel's lawyers would try to use a legal loophole to beat charges against the notorious gangland boss.

Mokbel would have been the first of many criminals and suspects hoping to take advantage of a recent admission by Victoria Police that officers routinely failed to swear an oath when signing affidavits.

The embarrassing blunder could render any evidence gained from affidavits used to execute search warrants, bug telephones or install listening and tracking devices unable to be used in prosecutions.

The legal team was expected to seek an adjournment in the sentencing process to allow it to check the veracity of documents used by Victoria Police to gather evidence against Mokbel.

But Mokbel's lawyer Peter Faris QC appeared before the Supreme Court this morning and said they no longer wished to proceed with an application for an adjournment.

No reason was given for the change of plans.

A plea hearing for Mokbel will now go ahead on Tuesday.

Mokbel, 45, pleaded guilty in April to drug charges relating to him masterminding his drug gang while he was on the run in Victoria and Greece.

Bugging and tracking his phones enabled Purana taskforce detectives to work out where Mokbel had fled to - resulting in him being arrested in the Definia seaside cafe near Athens in 2007 after 15 months on the run.

Forensic accountants attached to Purana were able to establish that Mokbel made about $100 million through his gang, which he called The Company.

Company members were involved in the manufacture and distribution of very large quantities of amphetamines and trafficking ecstasy and cocaine.

The Company was formed largely to finance Mokbel's escape from Australia and pay for his life as a fugitive in Australia and Greece.

In a deal between his lawyers and prosecutors, outstanding drug charges were dropped in return for him pleading guilty to trafficking a large commercial quantity of methylamphetamine, trafficking a large commercial quantity of ecstasy and urging an undercover operative to import a commercial quantity of ecstasy.

His fear of being charged over one or more underworld murders prompted him to disappear near the end of his March 2006 drug trial.

He fully expected to be convicted on the cocaine smuggling charge, telling close associates he would cop it and do the five years he expected to be jailed for.

What he couldn't stomach was the thought of a life sentence for murder.

He was sentenced in his absence to a nine-year minimum term from the 2006 drug trial. With time served before sentencing, he would be eligible to be released in February 2014.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

IT was a former Icelandic beauty queen who scooped the $A2.1 million reward for tipping off the FBI to the whereabouts of feared Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, it has been revealed.

Whitey Bulger

In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger stands during his initial appearance in a federal courtroom in Boston in June. Source:AP

Bulger, who is charged with 19 murders in the 1970s and '80s in Boston, was arrested in June in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living under an assumed name with long-term girlfriend Catherine Greig.

The FBI has steadfastly refused to disclose the identity of the tipster, again declining to comment to AFP, but the Boston Globe says it was Anna Bjornsdottir, a 57-year-old graphic designer and yoga instructor.

Bjornsdottir, who was crowned Miss Iceland in 1974 and starred in that year's Miss Universe competition, tipped off police after recognising Bulger, 81, on the television news, reports said.

She is said to have befriended Greig, 60, in Santa Monica after the two women took a shared interest in a local stray cat.

The Boston Globe reported that Bjornsdottir, star of B-movies More American Graffiti and The Sword and the Sorcerer, moved to the LA area in the late 1970s with her first husband, rock star Jakob Magnusson.

Bulger, an Irish-American whose life inspired a gritty Hollywood movie, pleaded not guilty to the string of murder charges at a court appearance in July.

Police found some $A823,000 in cash and a "fairly big arsenal" of weapons in Bulger's modest apartment after his arrest, law enforcement sources said.

Greig, who is accused of helping to shield Bulger during his time on the run, was indicted by a federal grand jury and faces up to five years in prison and a $US250,000 fine if convicted.

Bulger was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed, the 2006 crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and also starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

Bulger and Greig had lived for years under the pseudonyms Charles and Carol Gasko.

In addition to accusations that Bulger murdered mob rivals, potential witnesses and others who threatened him, prosecutors accuse him of a crime spree spanning into the 1990s that included extortion, money laundering and, at one point, running guns to Northern Ireland's IRA militants.

51-year-old man, who police believe to be a high-ranking member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang, was questioned


Firearms, drugs, cash and fireworks have been seized during a raid on the Sydney home of a bikie member, police say. Officers from the NSW Gangs Squad allegedly found three rifles, a shotgun, fireworks, more than $17,000 in cash and a variety of drugs and drug paraphernalia when the they raided the Mt Druitt house in Sydney's west on Monday. A 51-year-old man, who police believe to be a high-ranking member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang, was questioned on Tuesday night.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang are currently travelling in convoy through South Australia.

Police monitor bikie gang 'run'

A number of members of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang are currently travelling in convoy through South Australia.

Police say that Crime Gang Task Force members are managing the convoy over the next few days as it heads across the State.

'The Rebels are heading to their annual national 'run' which is scheduled to start in Mildura on Friday, 7 October 2011.

'It is believed several hundred members will be attending.

'Police have been closely monitoring the Rebels group.'

Police say that one member has been reported for speed dangerous while riding his bike approximately 10 kms west of Kimba in the State's mid-west.

'Police will allege the 50-year-old Rebels member from Western Australia was detected travelling at 191 kilometres per hour in a 110 kmph zone,' police said.

'The rider immediately lost his licence for six months and had his Harley Davidson impounded for 28 days,' Detective Inspector Steve Taylor from Crime Gangs Task Force said.

'This is a typical example of why SAPOL directs resources into managing large numbers of outlaw bikies on our roads.

'Unless we convoy manage and control them they have a complete and utter disregard for the law and other road users.'

Police have a number of contingencies in place in the event that some of the Rebels head to Adelaide after the national run.

Police find body in Perth motel car park


POLICE have found the body of a missing man wrapped in plastic in the back of a four-wheel drive vehicle in Perth, nearly two weeks after he went missing. The body of 38-year-old Mite Naumovski, a convicted drug trafficker, was found early yesterday afternoon in the car park at the Great Eastern Motor Lodge in Rivervale, in Perth's inner east. Police had been seeking the father of one since he failed to return after telling his family he was going for a motorbike ride. Police said several people had been taken into custody and were being questioned by Major Crime Squad detectives. Mr Naumovski's body was found at the same motor lodge where the body of Perth concrete firm owner Peter Davis was found earlier this year, also in the back of a car and wrapped in plastic. A man has been charged over the Mr Davis' death but police were making no connection between the deaths yesterday.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WHOEVER shot the son of Mark Sandery broke "the paramount rule" of outlaw bikies, sources close to the gangs have warned.

Shooting at Semaphore

 Two men broke into this Semaphore house, smashed windows and shot the son of Finks club member Mark Sandery. Source: Sunday Mail (SA) 

a child, 11, was shot at this semaphore house

 A Finks member, right, who was at this Semaphore house where the son, 11, of notorious Fink Mark Sandery was shot on Friday night. Picture: Digitally enhanced imageSource: AdelaideNow 


The Advertiser  has been told the shooting of the boy, 11, goes against the core values of bikies.

"When it comes to dealing with rivals, there are no hard and fast rules except for two," a source said yesterday.

"You try not to do it in public, and the paramount rule is that you never, ever hurt the wife or the kids.

"To a lot of the guys, their children mean everything ... that's why you just don't do it."

Sandery was a member of the Finks Outlaw Motorcycle Club, but there are conflicting reports on whether he remains a member.

His son was injured when two male intruders burst into a home on Military Rd, Semaphore, on Friday night.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Alleged hit-run death case on hold until next year


trial over an alleged hit-and-run death of a man in the rural area of Darwin has been put off until March next year. Hells Angels member Nicholas Frank "Shonky" Cassidy has been charged with causing the death of Levi Griffiths, whose body was found on the side of the Stuart Highway at Coolalinga last month. It is alleged he was hit by a utility and that his body was moved. Darwin Magistrates Court heard today that more than 100 witnesses will be called in the case. The court was told that all of the prosecution's forensic evidence has not been handed in yet. Cassidy's bail was continued.

OUTLAW bikies are believed to have put a $500,000 price on the heads of gang members who allegedly shot the son of a former Finks member.

Mark Sandery Finks member

Former Finks Bikie gang member Mark Sandery outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

South Australian police are aware of the offer, which leaves them in no doubt club members want to handle reprisals for the shooting of the 11-year-old without their intervention.

Mark Sandery's son was shot twice in the leg after armed intruders forced their way into a Semaphore house on Friday night. Police have received no co-operation from witnesses.

A source told Melbourne's Herald Sun: "The Finks are offering $500,000 to bring this bloke into any clubhouse in Australia. Every crook in Australia knows about it."

The Advertiser understands the Women's and Children's Hospital, where the boy is recovering, remains on high security alert, with some staff said to be terrified there could be further outbreaks of violence.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Rival accused of killing Hells Angel boss in Nev


motorcycle gang member shot a chapter president of the rival Hells Angels four times in the back before fleeing a Nevada casino where a shootout occurred last weekend, police said in court records unsealed Thursday. Suspect Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, 53, of San Jose, Calif., was named in a police affidavit as a member of the Vagos gang who killed 51-year-old Jeffery "Jethro" Pettigrew on Friday at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. Pettigrew was president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels. Security video shows Gonzalez approaching Pettigrew with a gun near a dance floor before casino patrons appeared to react to gunfire, Sparks police Detective John Patton said in the affidavit. Pettigrew fell to the floor before Gonzalez put the gun in his waistband and fled, the affidavit said. A search later turned up seven .40 caliber casings about 15 feet from the spot where Pettigrew was shot from behind, Patton said. Police earlier said Pettigrew had died from gunshot and stab wounds. The whereabouts of Gonzalez was unknown. Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick believes the Hells Angels are looking for him, too. Gammick declined to provide any more information about the suspect but said he may not survive to stand trial in Reno if rival gang members find him before law officers. "Think about it," Gammick told The Associated Press. "You shoot the Hells Angels president four times in the back ... What do you think is going to happen if the Hells Angels get their hands on him?" Two Vagos members were wounded in the shootout and a third was shot in the stomach the next day by a gunman in a passing car a few blocks from the Nugget and the town square where the 18th annual Street Vibrations motorcycle festival was held on Friday and Saturday. The mayor of Sparks canceled the event Saturday night and declared a state of emergency amid fears of more gang violence. Police arrested Cesar Villagrana, 36, of Gilroy, Calif., who they said is a Hells Angels member who was with Pettigrew when he was shot. Villagrana did not enter a plea at his arraignment Thursday in Sparks Justice Court on three felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon illegally and discharging a firearm within a structure. His lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, declined comment on the case but called his client a good family man with no prior felonies who was caring for his ill mother and stepfather. Judge Susan Deriso set a hearing for Oct. 5 to allow Schonfeld to argue for a reduction of his client's $500,000 cash-only bail. A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 12.

Police raid Commancheros bikies - 10 arrested


Detectives from Crime Gangs Task Force this morning led a series of raids on premises belonging to, or closely linked with, the Commancheros outlaw motorcycle gang. Ten were arrested for a number of drug and firearms offences. The operation involved 160 police who searched a total of 34 properties. During the searches police seized a total of six handguns, four rifles, a quantity of ammunition and prohibited weapons including; a flick knife, bayonets, tasers, batons. Police were particularly concerned to locate four of the handguns fully loaded – one was fitted with a silencer and a laser sight. Police allegedly located a handgun at the home of a Commanchero member who received a gunshot wound to the groin on 17 September 2011. A number of drugs were discovered including; a kilogram of cannabis, 22 cannabis plants, approximately 300 grams of amphetamine, a small quantity of pills (believed to be ecstasy), a large quantity of steroids and cocaine along with glassware, chemicals and other items of prescribed equipment used in the production of illicit drugs. Computers, 27 mobile phones, fireworks and $135,300 in cash were also seized. In addition to issuing a number of General Expiation Notices, Cannabis Expiation Notices, and Drug Diversions, Police arrested and charged; ·       27-year-old man of Prospect for a first instance warrant ·       26-year-old-woman of Hindmarsh Island for Traffic a Controlled Drug ·       26-year-old man of Parafield Gardens for Possess Class H firearm, Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drug, Possess Dangerous Article, Unlawful Possession of Cash (Commanchero member) ·       31-year-old man of Klemzig for Aggravated Affray, Possess Steroids and Prohibited Weapon (Commanchero member) ·       45-year-old man of Enfield for Possess Class H Firearm and Possess Prescription Drugs (Commanchero member) ·       26-year-old man of Clarence Gardens for Cultivate Commercial Quantity of Cannabis, Traffic Controlled Drug, Possess Prescribed Equipment, Theft of Electricity and Possess Prohibited Weapon. ·       46-year-old man of Henley Beach South for Unlawful Possession of Cash. ·       51-year-old man of Torrensville for Possess Class H Firearms and Possess Firearms, Possess Silencer, Unlawful Possession of Cash, Possess Prescribed Equipment, Possess Prohibited Weapons. ·       49-year-old man of Adelaide for Possess Prohibited Weapons and Possess Prescription Drugs. ·       36-year-old man of Fulham for Unlawful Possession of Cash and Traffic Commercial Quantity of Controlled Drug. Reported: ·       28-year-old man for Possess Prescription Drugs, Possess Prescribed Equipment and Carry Offensive Weapon (Commanchero member) ·       40-year-old man of Burton for Cultivate Cannabis


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