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Ganging Up in Bali

Western Australian Police Warn Motorcycle Gangs are Gaining Criminal Footholds in Bali and other Southeast Asian Destination

(6/18/2012) Kompas.com reports that illegal bike gangs from Perth, Western Australia are establishing footholds in overseas locations, including Bali, in order to commit transnational crime.

Warning that bike gangs involved in various illegal practice are now in operation in Bali is a senior police officer from Western Australia, Nick Anticich.

Anticich’s comments follow a report in the Australian press stating that members of the Coffin Cheaters Bike Gang of Perth, Western Australia, have now opened businesses in Bali. Members of the gang are reportedly seen in clubs and bars in Bali wearing the gang’s distinctive regalia.

Anticich is a law enforcement officer deeply familiar with crimal practice among motorcycle gang members. He claims that the Cheaters have established a club in Bali and that other gangs are aggressively extending their networks to other overseas locations by purchasing small clubs in foreign locales.

He said that intelligence accumulated by his office show that bike gangs have created a network across Southeast Asia, focusing on locations where amphetamines and chemicals needed for their manufacture are easily acquired. Anticich also contends that the bike gangs are involved in money laundering practices.

In Bali the Western Australian bike gangs who have reportedly established a foothold are the Coffin Cheaters, Bandidos and Rock Machine.

Anticich said that tough anti-narcotics enforcement in Bali is dissuading the gangs from involvement in the narcotics trade on the island. But he did not discount the possibility that the gangs are busy acquiring chemical ingredients for the manufacture of drugs. These chemical components of illegal drugs can be freely purchased in large quantities in many overseas locations.

Another police source in Western Australia described Bali as a “heaven” for international drug syndicates because of the limited technological means available to the island’s law enforcement agencies to detect illicit drugs entering the island.

Anticich said that although Indonesian ratified the UN Convention on the illegal trade in narcotics and psychotropic substances more than ten years ago, there is still no clear statement from Indonesia on which type of drugs are specifically outlawed.

L. Sastra Wijaya, a correspondent for Kompas based in Australia, described the Australian motorcycle gangs as usually riding large bikes - such as Harley Davidson’s, wearing specific identifying uniforms and gathering at bars operated under their control.

In Australia bike gang members are now prohibited from wearing their “uniforms” in public bars. Australian legislation is also being prepared to make it illegal for known criminal groups, such as bike gangs, to gather or affiliate with each other.

A report from the Western Australian police says the Bandidos gang have established bases in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore while the Outlaws have footholds in Thailand, the Philippines and Japan.