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Friday, November 16, 2012

Australia - Tas police focus on Rebels

The Australian Crime Commission may hold Tasmanian hearings into the activities of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Club.

The Rebels have eight chapters in Tasmania, four of which have opened in the past year.

The club's activities in the state have been part of the focus of the Australian Crime Commission-led crackdown on the Rebels.

In a public statement, the commission labelled the gaxxx as one of Australia's highest risk criminal threats.

National president Alessio Emmanuel "Alex" Vella has bought real estate conservatively valued at more than $1 million across the state.

He owns the Rebels' clubhouses in North Hobart, Launceston and Sorell.

Inspector John Arnold says Vella is a regular visitor to the state.

"It demonstrates the strong affiliation between our local Rebels and at the national hierarchy and other chapters interstate," he said.

"Let me be clear, to think that the Rebels are just a group of motorcycle enthusiast is just not right."

More than 300 bikies were arrested nationally as part of Operation Attero, 14 of them in Tasmania for offences ranging from drugs to threatening behaviour.

Vella has not been charged.

The commission is considering holding hearings into the operations of the gaxxx in Tasmania as part of the investigation

Inspector Arnold says the next phase of the operation involves gathering more intelligence.

"The Australian Crime Commission have a lot of coercive powers in relation to their hearings and, as I say, if it's part of a national push and a national set of hearings then it will have a lot more power and a lot more significance.

"I imagine there will be a range of things that the hearings cover and that further strategies over the next 12 months will cover and certainly asset management and ownership will be one of those," Inspector Arnold said.