Biker News: Charity Drive or Gang War?


By David Amoruso
Posted on January 3, 2011

First off: Happy New Year to all the readers of this website! Due to the holiday season, it took some time before this edition of Biker News was posted, but here it finally is.

Christmas is the season of joy and happiness, of giving and sharing. And several chapters of the American Hells Angels acted appropriately by organizing and participating in charity events. In Syracuse, New York, the Hells Angels Nomads chapter, working together with bikers from Abate Onondaga, and Leathernecks MC, the Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots, organized a great event to raise money and collect donations to give toys to children in need.

That same weekend, the Sonoma County's Hells Angels and the North Bay Motorcycle Association also held a toy drive in California. Hundreds of bikers wearing red Santa hats got on their bikes and rode out as police officers helped to manage traffic along the route.

A week later, on Sunday December 19, the Hells Angels San Fernando Valley Chapter donated most of this year's toys at the annual Live Ride Event. This organization supports the children and family members of inmates. “Live Ride has brought gifts to the children and, usually, a prayer for the current caregivers, more often than not grandparents, aunts or uncles”, the Los Angeles Daily News writes.

For those readers who were hoping and/or expecting to read about mayhem and murder and who might have been somewhat disappointed by the ‘news’ so far, we will now continue with stories you are more used to reading at this site.

In Germany the Hells Angels are under intense scrutiny. As was reported in an earlier Biker News, German police, last month, performed several raids on businesses and homes linked to the Hells Angels. Several police officers and a chief inspector were picked up on corruption charges as they allegedly gave confidential information to members of the motorcycle club.

On December 13, over 900 German police officers again raided the residences and businesses of Hells Angels members in three different states as they searched for evidence that the club was planning the murder of a rival group member.

German news site The Local reported: “The raids came in response to a brawl in late November between the Hells Angels and an association of doormen called United Tribuns. At least three gang members were injured during the fight in Pforzheim, with one person sustaining life-threatening wounds. Shots were fired during the clash, after which police arrested more than 20 suspects. Monday’s raids centered on stemming an alleged revenge attack on leaders of United Tribuns, the prosecutors said.”

Outlaw bikers and violence. That’s something they know a lot about in Scandinavian countries. During the 1990s, a war raged through the underworld of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Several biker gangs fought for control over the criminal world. But later, the general belief among police was that the Hells Angels and Bandidos MC were simply fighting over who was “the best”.

When bikers are prepared to wage an all out street war involving bombs, it is no wonder Finland’s authorities are extremely worried about these motorcycle groups, and do not wish such violence on other countries. Which is why Finland warned neighboring country Estonia about the Hells Angels and Bandidos that are expanding into their country. This past summer, Interpol gave out a similar warning, claiming the Hells Angels were rapidly expanding into South-Eastern Europe, mainly Turkey and Albania. The agency also warned other Outlaw Motorcycle Groups were reportedly making moves into the unchartered territory.

Planting a flag on a new patch of land. Motorcycle clubs like the Hells Angels, Bandidos, and Outlaws can’t seem to fight the temptation. The “expansion of territory” also played a role in the trial against several members of the Outlaws MC in federal court in Virginia. On December 21, national Outlaws president Jack Rosga (53) of Milwaukee and three other club members were found guilty of racketeering and will be sentenced on April 8. According to prosecutors, the Outlaws MC, headed by Rosga, was a “highly organized criminal enterprise responsible for a string of violent crimes, most of them targeting the rival Hells Angels.”

In Switzerland, meanwhile, the Hells Angels there received some good news that is the exact opposite of the abovementioned notion that these biker groups are a “highly organized criminal enterprise”. “Suspicions that the Hells Angels, or at least a core group of the club, act as a crime syndicate could not be corroborated,” the Federal Prosecutors Office said on December 30. The Prosecutors Office came to this conclusion after a six year investigation into the Swiss Hells Angels. Though, five members of the group will be charged with drug dealing, racketeering, and attempted kidnapping as a result of the investigation.

Violent criminal biker gang or a fun loving motorcycle club? Both judge and jury are still out on that one. Outlaw motorcycle clubs like the Outlaws or Hells Angels have had countless of run ins with authorities. And many members have been convicted of various crimes. But are these crimes club policy or are they the acts of its individual members?

Food for thought. Until that time, authorities will keep a close eye on these groups and if a chapter decides to go all out ‘mafia’ on them, its members will undoubtedly end up behind bars. It is probably best for them, and us, if they focus a lot more attention on charity events.

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