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Arson attacks across Auckland as gang feud heats up

Published in 1%er News

Arson attacks on cars across Auckland and a firebombing and shooting at a barbershop may be linked to a simmering feud between gangs, detectives believe.

In recent weeks six vehicles were torched in four attacks spanning Avondale, Manurewa and Māngere East.

Meanwhile, early on July 1, a gang-connected barber shop and tattoo parlour was firebombed and shot at in Māngere.

A barbershop torched in an arson attack in Auckland a week ago was gutted by the fire.
A barbershop torched in an arson attack in Auckland a week ago was gutted by the fire. STUFF

The most recent arson happened just before 1am Wednesday in the inner west Auckland suburb of Avondale.

A car linked to the local King Cobras was torched outside a home in Maple St by assailants who remain at large, Stuff understands.

The King Cobras are feuding with the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang.

Stuff understands the dispute is over control of territory in Māngere traditionally controlled by the King Cobras, New Zealand’s oldest patched gang, founded in Ponsonby in the 1950s.

The Rebels in Auckland have been reinvigorated following the return of Ray Elise a year ago, deported from Australia under the controversial 501 policy.

Members of the Rebels in Auckland at the funeral of Head Hunter Taranaki "Ardie" Fuimaono in central Auckland, who died in police custody.
JASON DORDAY/StuffMembers of the Rebels in Auckland at the funeral of Head Hunter Taranaki “Ardie” Fuimaono in central Auckland, who died in police custody.

Elise was formerly the president of the Rebels Victoria branch.

He comes from south Auckland and was involved in the formation of the Kautama Brotherhood street gang nearly 20 years ago, Stuff understands.

The Rebels are headquartered in Australia and are the largest outlaw motorcycle gang in that country, with more than 2000 members.

On Sunday around 3am, three vehicles were torched in Avondale.

Any links between this incident and the gang tensions are less clear, but police say it too was not a random attack.

About 2am on July 1, a recently established barbershop in Kirkbride Rd, Māngere was torched and shot up.

No-one was injured, but the business was gutted by the fire.

The business has a name closely associated with the King Cobras and significant numbers of patched members of the gang were seen outside the morning after the attack.

Its owner denied any gang links.

King Cobras at Ardie's funeral.
JASON DORDAY/StuffKing Cobras at Ardie’s funeral.

Police found several spent shell casings at the scene.

“We would like to reassure our community that police do not believe these are random incidents and we continue to investigate whether they are linked to organised crime groups.”

Aside from the two car fires in recent days, and the barbershop incident, the other incidents in the scope of the police investigation happened on May 7 about 1am in Māngere East, and about 1.15am on June 17 in Manurewa.

Vehicles were set alight in both incidents.

Tensions between the Rebels and King Cobras have been building for some months.

By Wednesday afternoon the car owned by the King Cobras had been removed from where it was torched in Maple St, but police remained at the scene.
Chris McKeen/StuffBy Wednesday afternoon the car owned by the King Cobras had been removed from where it was torched in Maple St, but police remained at the scene.

On Saturday, May 29, a large-scale scrap broke out on Fort St in downtown Auckland between members of the two gangs.

Large numbers of patched Rebels and King Cobras recently appeared together at the funeral of Head Hunter Taranaki “Ardie” Fuimaono in central Auckland, who died in police custody.

There was no sign of any conflict between the two gangs at the funeral or the burial, understood to be due to an underworld rule forbidding any such trouble at funerals.

Location: New Zealand
Club: Rebels MC
Writer: George Block
Source: stuff