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Fears of a new gangland war -

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Fears of a new gangland war

The World Today - Thursday, 23 October , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Rachael Brown

ELEANOR HALL: In Melbourne there are warnings that the gangland wars that plagued the city for a
decade may be about to return. An ex-bikie says the deadly shooting of a member of the Bandidos in
Geelong last night will spark revenge attacks.

And the Victorian Police Force has already announced that it is putting a special taskforce in
place to investigate.

In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: Melbourne's bikie fraternity has its own style of communication and last night two
men were sent a loud message.

MARK ZERVAAS: The 50-year-old victim received one gunshot wound to the head and that shrapnel has
hit the male behind him.

RACHAEL BROWN: Detective Sergeant Mark Zervaas says the men were leaving the Bandidos clubhouse in
Geelong around 6pm when a white ute pulled up, and the occupant opened fire with a shotgun. The man
shot in the head died in hospital overnight and the other man is in a stable condition.

Police say it's too soon to tell if the shooting is linked to the ongoing turf war between the
Bandidos and the rival Rebels gang.

But ex-motorbike gang member, Arthur Veno, says it's the second shooting attack on the clubhouse in
two years and he says it's not a coincidence.

ARTHUR VENO: The previous incident could've been written off as sort of like nothing too serious
but now that we've got number two up on the board, it tells us that something, there's definitely a
problem.

RACHAEL BROWN: Now a Professor of Social Inquiry and Public Policy at Monash University, Arthur
Veno predicts the turf war that could follow will hark back to Melbourne's gangland war.

ARTHUR VENO: There is a history of conflict with that particular club and it dates back to the days
when police actually were in charge of the methamphetamines that were hitting the streets which has
been exposed through programs like "Underbelly" etc.

Criminal elements of that club were believed to have been cleaned out by appropriate action but
those convictions etc were all overturned as soon as the coppers went down for the operation they
were involved in, they were providing the crooks.

RACHAEL BROWN: When Melbourne's gangland tit-for-tat shootings gathered speed early this decade,
police didn't have a central intelligence database of the major players, and set up the Purana
Taskforce to help contain the revenge war.

Similarly, there's currently no taskforce dedicated to monitoring the state's bikie gangs but
Victoria Police says last night's shooting is not necessarily proof one's needed

PAUL HOLLOWOOD: Sometimes we do find that it may be a rivalry between other groups but then
sometimes we also find that it may be something quite internal and not connected to anything
criminal at all.

RACHAEL BROWN: However, Superintendant Paul Hollowood says the incident will be handled by a new
taskforce that'll investigate Melbourne's street shootings.

PAUL HOLLOWOOD: Strangely enough the decision was made yesterday in terms of forming the taskforce
but I suppose the events of yesterday probably just re-emphasised the need to actually take this
approach.

We've had about 20 particular incidents which have happened around Melbourne. Fortunately most of
those have been non-fatal but because of those incidents, some of them have actually been sort of
drive-by related.

They tend to sort of happen out in the public arena and that is probably our biggest concern is
that innocent people might be vulnerable as well.

RACHAEL BROWN: Superintendant Paul Hollowood says Victoria Police has resisted calls to follow
South Australia's lead and declare outlaw motorcycle gangs illegal organisations.

PAUL HOLLOWOOD: It's likely to drive the problem underground.

RACHAEL BROWN: Professor Veno is confident police can keep the situation under control.

ARTHUR VENO: They will put heat on that car like you will not believe. They will not be able to
fart without the cops knowing about it.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Monash University Professor and former bikie Arthur Veno ending that report by
Rachael Brown in Melbourne.