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BIKER NEWS: 'Only a matter of time before a member of the public is hit': bikies target Melbourne's clubs

BIKER NEWS -- Victoria Police will broaden an investigation into attempts by prominent outlaw motorcycle gangs to infiltrate and int...



BIKER NEWS -- Victoria Police will broaden an investigation into attempts by prominent outlaw motorcycle gangs to infiltrate and intimidate Melbourne's security industry following a spate of shootings, fire bombings and two violent attacks on venues over the weekend.

On Tuesday, the state government will introduce new gun laws in a bid to curb an alarming surge in gun crime, including the shooting of three men involved with security firms since September.

Detectives are expected to examine links between bikies and the shooting of a security guard at Kittens strip club in South Melbourne on Monday morning.



The bouncer was standing outside the Cecil Street club when a man fired a shotgun from a stolen Commodore that was later dumped on the corner of Boundary and Munro streets in South Melbourne.

On Sunday, about 1am, more than 20 men ambushed security at the Bridge Hotel in Richmond, injuring two guards and smashing windows.

A witness said several members of the group were of Middle Eastern appearance and arrived at the Bridge Road pub in a white Lamborghini and a white Audi R9.




It is understood that at least one of the attackers was known to the hotel's security staff.

A senior police source told Fairfax Media that gang members were actively targeting late night venues in a bid to control the lucrative drug trade, while some altercations with security guards were the result of personal grievances or when bikies were refused entry.

"The concerning thing for us, is that they're becoming increasingly brazen and it looks like they are trying to make a statement. It's only a matter of time before an average member of the public gets injured or worse. There were people standing outside that club (Kittens) that could have easily been hit," the police source said.




In August 2015, several men including a prominent underworld figure and at least one member of the Comanchero bikie gang were involved in a violent exchange with security guards outside a prominent CBD nightclub, which was captured by closed-circuit cameras.

The venue's security company has links to prominent industry figure Clay Auimatagi, who was shot in September, less than a month after the wild brawl.

Mr Auimatagi was wounded outside his gym in Narre Warren, and is understood to have refused to assist police, despite telling associates he knew who was behind the attack. 




Police are also understood to be investigating whether the shooting was sparked by a turf war involving members of the Comanchero motorcycle gang, which has a club house in the neighbouring suburb of Hallam and links to a prominent security businesses.

It is understood that Mr Auimatagi had also previously worked on the door at Kittens, but was not the target of Monday morning's attack.

Detective Senior Constable John Elliott, of the Armed Crime Squad, said it was unclear if the shooter had lashed out because of a recent grievance at the venue, or if the shooting was more planned.




Members of the Echo taskforce are also examining the recent shooting of senior Comanchero Robert Morando, who was a former owner of Ultimate Crowd Control.

The former body builder was blasted near his Narre Warren South home in October, while on bail over charges of perverting the course of justice, threatening to inflict serious injury and possessing steroids and explosives.

In 2014, Fairfax Media revealed that Mr Morando's security business was employed by supermarket giant Woolworths and billionaire businessman Bruce Mathieson at more than a dozen hotels gaming venues owned by their joint venture, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.

ALH has since severed all links with Ultimate Crowd Control, while Mr Morando is no longer registered as an owner or director of the company.

Police are yet to solve the fire bombing of St Kilda beachside restaurant and bar complex Republica. 

Outlaw motorcycle gangs are believed to be responsible for two fire bombings of the foreshore bar in 2014 and another attack on the West Melbourne premises of a security firm linked to the venue.

Detectives from Port Phillip CIU are also investigating an arson attack on The Albion Hotel in South Melbourne, which is co-owned by Collingwood champion Dane Swan.

Police are yet to determine if the discovery of $30,000 worth of methamphetamines at Richmond's Precinct Hotel a week earlier was linked to the firebombing of the venue.

A member of the anti-bikie Echo taskforce was involved in the initial investigation of the deliberate blaze that gutted the building.

This article was first published on November 30, 2015
Get a copy of The Age or go to www.theage.com.au for more stories.

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: 'Only a matter of time before a member of the public is hit': bikies target Melbourne's clubs
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