BIKIES are not new to the Gold Coast — they’ve called the Glitter Strip and Hinterland home for more than 40 years.
When the Finks founded their Gold Coast chapter in 1969, patched outlaw motorcycle gang members were seldom seen and rarely heard.
Public displays of violence were rare.
The only time most people ever saw bikies was in their rear vision mirror as they wove their way through traffic on the Pacific Highway on two wheels, or crossed white lines and screamed past them on winding roads in the Hinterland. That all changed in the 1980s in a shocking incident that saw rival gangs embroiled in a shootout in a park at Tugun that catapulted bikies into the headlines.
Finks bikies morphed into a modern organised crime gang in 2000.
It was the most brazen public display of violence the Coast had witnessed and a sign of things to come.
By the year 2000, the Gold Coast party scene had helped The Finks morph into a modern, organised-crime style outlaw gang.
As the Gold Coast’s booming drug scene continued to grow, territorial disputes escalated and new players became eager to find a way in.
Leading the pack were international heavyweights the Hells Angels, who enjoyed a heavy presence in Brisbane but were yet to establish a stranglehold on the Coast.
Enter Christopher Hudson, a former Gold Coast bouncer and Black Uhlan turned senior member of The Finks. When Hudson patched over to the Angels in late 2004, the club had finally found a way “in”.
His defection fuelled the Angels’ bitter rivalry with local stalwarts The Finks and in 2006, eventually boiled over in an infamous all-in brawl later dubbed The Ballroom Blitz.
Shots were fired, knives were pulled and fists, feet, bottles and chairs were used as weapons as Hells Angels and Finks went head-to-head during a kickboxing match in the ballroom at the Royal Pines Resort.
More than 1800 people were caught in the violent melee which made headlines around the world.
CCTV footage shows the moment an innocent bystander was shot in the hip at Robina Town Centre when Bandido Jacques Teamo clashed with gunman Mark Graham.
Hudson was shot in the back and jaw and stabbed as OMG members on both sides were wounded.
The turncoat was later convicted of murder and jailed after shooting three people at point blank range, killing one and injuring two, in Melbourne’s CBD. Police said the Ballroom Blitz showed just how quickly the gangs could mobilise muscle.
“Finks and Angels came from everywhere that weekend,” a police source said.
“The mobility of these people is phenomenal.”
While the head-to-head melee sparked fears of an all-out Gold Coast bikie war that thankfully never materialised, the clubs remained at loggerheads.
The Angels’ bitter rivalry with local stalwarts The Finks eventually boiled over in 2006 in an infamous all-in brawl later dubbed The Ballroom Blitz.
Tattoo parlours, gyms and private homes were shot at and torched. Rivals punched on and in some cases patched over, as gangs jockeyed for dominance for the best part of another decade.
Tensions finally boiled over again in 2012 when an innocent bystander was shot in the hip at Robina Town Centre when Bandido Jacques Teamo clashed with gunman Mark Graham.
Graham, a Finks member at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2014 for attempted murder and unlawful wounding over the incident — a sentence he’s now serving after losing a High Court Appeal over his conviction. A year after being shot in the crowded shopping centre, Teamo was causing fear in public again.
The former Miami High School student led a group of Bandidos as they swarmed the busy Broadbeach precinct and started what became another notorious bikie brawl.
As terrifying as the Ballroom Blitz and Robina shootings had been, the 2013 Broadbeach bikie brawl was perhaps the single most defining moment in the Gold Coast — and Queensland’s — war on bikies.
Screenshots from the terrifying Broadbeach bikie brawl. QLD Police
The incident sparked a major, citywide crackdown on the clubs, with police making 3206 arrests and laying 5000 charges in the following 12 months and prompted the Newman Government to introduce its controversial VLAD laws.
Twin taskforces, Maxima and Takeback, were formed to dismantle the underworld empire and close the 10 bikie clubhouses operating north of the border at the time.
The police blitz targeted tattoo parlours, towing industry, feeder gangs, massage parlours and parole violations before police claimed they’d dismantled a multimillion-dollar criminal empire.
As The Finks began to crumble under the weight of the crackdown and imminent introduction of Queensland’s controversial VLAD laws, feared Californian gang the Mongols mounted a brazen takeover of the club.
By the end of 2013, the Mongols’ Australian membership had swelled from 70 to almost 400 as an army of Finks patched over.
The laws have kept the Mongols at arms’ length, just over the border at Chinderah but have done nothing to keep “new kids on the block” the Comancheros at bay.
The feared club has been linked to recent incidents in both Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.
Several clubs are also eyeing off the growth corridor in the city’s north, still considered “no man’s land”.
POLICE SAY EIGHT OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE GANGS REMAIN ACTIVE ON THE GOLD COAST
The “new kids on the block”, the Comancheros are active along the Glitter Strip and have been implicated in a string of recent incidents in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.
Comancheros have only recently established a presence on the Gold Coast.
The club’s former headquarters in Indy Court, Nerang, was just 2km from the Nomads’ clubhouse. Still based in Nerang but also maintain business interests in Surfers Paradise.
Based in northern NSW post-VLAD. Comprised mostly of former Finks members who patched over to the Californian superclub en masse in 2013.
The Mongols logo.
Maintain control over Broadbeach, despite their ranks being decimated in the wake of the Broadbeach Bikie Brawl.
Hells Angels, Burleigh/Varsity/Mermaid
The international heavyweights have maintained a presence from Burleigh to Broadbeach and west to Varsity Lakes, despite the introduction of the VLAD laws after a long battle to muscle in on the Coast’s booming drug scene.
The Hells Angels OMCG have maintained a presence from Burleigh to Broadbeach despite introduction of VLAD laws in 2014.
Lone Wolf, Currumbin
Small but fierce gang with chapters in Lismore and Sydney. While their former premises at Currumbin remain off limits, police say clubs such as Lone Wolf are still trying to recruit.
Black Uhlans, West Burleigh
Regarded the most private of the Coast’s OMG clubs, the Uhlans remain active in the vicinity of their former clubhouse in Ern Harley Drive, West Burleigh.
Formerly based in a warehouse in Ryecroft St, Worongary, that served as a clubhouse. Taskforce Maxima arrested a Nomads associate with four firearms and a large stash of drugs on the weekend as a direct result of community information.
Nomads bikies gear.
Feared New Zealand gang The Mongrel Mob have established a presence in Coomera and Pacific Pines while The Finks, once the most prominent gang on the Glitter Strip, are a growing faction again in Southport-Surfers.
TOP BIKIES NEVER OUT OF THE HEADLINES
1. CHRISTOPHER HUDSON
THE former nightclub bouncer sparked the infamous Ballroom Blitz bikie brawl at Royal Pines Resort in 2006 after he patched over from the Finks to the Hell’s Angels. A year later, Hudson shot and killed solicitor Brendan Keilar at point blank range in the Melbourne CBD and wounded two others. He is serving a life sentence but will be eligible for parole in 2042.
2. SHANE BOWDEN
FORMER Fink spent a month on the run following the Ballroom Blitz before handing himself in to police. Was charged with the attempted murder of Christopher Hudson and sentenced to six years in jail. Now national sergeant-at-arms for the Mongols, Bowden moved to Victoria after the former LNP government introduced the VLAD laws. In jail in Victoria until at least 2018 after pleading guilty to a home invasion in Melbourne in 2015.
3. NICK “THE KNIFE” FORBES
FORMER Finks terror team member patched over to the Mongols. Forbes has had several run-ins with the law since he was charged over the Ballroom Blitz and a series of savage assaults in Broadbeach. Now a Mongol, Forbes was arrested and charged with drug trafficking in Brisbane’s north as part of a Taskforce Maxima operation last year.
The infamous Nick ‘the knife’ Forbes. Pic by David Clark
4. GREGORY ‘25’ KEATING
FORMER Southport tattoo shop owner and sergeant-at-arms of the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks, also known as “Numbers”, helped lead the club’s “patch-over” to the Mongols in 2013 and became its sergeant-at-arms. Fled interstate when the VLAD laws were introduced. Was once jailed for refusing to give evidence about the Finks to an Australian Crime Commission “star chamber’’ hearing.
5. YASSAR BAKIR
FORMER Finks “Terror Team” member Yassar Bakir was charged with attempted murder after Pita Wilson, a former professional rugby union player, cage fighter and Japanese underworld security guard, was shot several times at The Spit in April 2006. Bakir was committed to stand trial for attempted murder but the charges were dropped in 2009 after Wilson failed to show up to testify.
6. AARON SCHEERS
EX-Lone Wolf bikie used a box-cutter to slice off a former speed cook’s earlobes and his entire left ear in a horrific 2007 kidnap and torture incident in bushland at Currumbin. The dyslexic, ADHD-diagnosed grandson of a Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league club co-founder was sentenced to 10 years’ jail. He later patched over to The Finks in Lotus Glen jail but has since left the club.
7. JACQUES TEAMO
FORMER Gold Coast Bandidos enforcer led 10 Bandidos into the Aura Tapas and Loungebar in Broadbeach in 2013 to confront alleged Finks associate Jason Trouchet and Matthew Sward before taking them outside — and sparking the infamous Broadbeach Bikie Brawl.
Former Bandido bikie gang member Jacques Teamo leaves the magistrates court in Brisbane last year after sentencing hearings charged over a bikie brawl on Queensland's Gold Coast in 2013. (AAP Image)
8. JOSH DOWNEY
ARMANI-wearing one-time Cleo Bachelor Of The Year contestant and former sergeant-at-arms of the Gold Coast Bandidos. Downey, 33, was sentenced to four years in jail in February this year for trafficking cocaine through Surfers Paradise nightclubs.
9. LIBORIO DI VITA
FORMER Black Uhlan jailed for attacking a lifeguard. Di Vita was handcuffed in front of his future in-laws for breaching parole by testing positive to drugs in an episode of reality TV series Gold Coast Cops, screened in April last year. Di Vita asked police if he could have a smoke and “Do a quick sh*t?” before he was hurled into the back of the paddy wagon.
10. MARK GRAHAM
FORMER Gold Coast Fink-turned-Mongol shot innocent bystander Kathy Devitt at Robina Town Centre in 2012 during a clash with Bandido Jacques Teamo. Graham, who has numerous facial tattoos including the bikie tag “1%” under his left eye, lost his final bid to have his attempted murder charged quashed in July and is serving the 12-year sentence he originally received in 2014.