Bikie gang crackdown

TASMANIA Police hope that unexplained-wealth legislation will help it crack down on potentially more illegal activities committed by Tasmanian bikie gangs.

The Justice Department is working to implement the law in Tasmania.

Tasmania does not have specific legislation or police units dedicated to bikie crime like most other states but it's hoped this law will help combat criminal profiteering from gangs, giving police the power to seize ill-gotten gains.

North-West police this week busted two drug operations, arresting and charging members of outlaw motorcycle gangs _ one man who rode with the Finks, the other with the Rebels.

Deputy Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard denied Tasmania lacked laws to deal with bikie-associated crime.

But he said that Tasmania Police watched how such legislation worked in other states, including controversial non-association legislation, which sought to separate outlaw biker gangs in South Australia and New South Wales but was struck down by the High Court.

``The existing (Tasmanian) legislation is generally adequate in terms of policing powers to prevent and disrupt activities of OMCG (outlaw motorcycle gang) members involved in crime,'' Deputy Police Commissioner Tilyard said.

``However, the implementation of unexplained wealth legislation similar to that in other jurisdictions will assist police to combat illicit activities associated with OMCGs and other individuals and groups involved in organised crime.''

Unexplained wealth laws have been implemented in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

The Australian Crime Commission reports there are more than 40 outlawed motorcycle groups in Australia with about 6000 members.

Six of these _ the Rebels, Satan's Riders, Black Uhlans, Devil's Henchmen, Finks, and Outlaws _ are either based or have chapters in Tasmania and collectively contain about 200 members.

Deputy Police Commissioner Tilyard said gang members would be publicly identified by police if they had committed serious crimes.

``If there are confirmed links between an individual or group of people charged with serious crimes and one or more OMCGs, then our view is that the public has a right to know,'' he said.

``This is especially the case given that some individuals associated with OMCGs go to lengths to distance themselves from an suggestion that these clubs are involved in illicit activities.''

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