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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Blackmail is listed as a "principal source of revenue" for Finks bikie gang

Blackmail is listed as a "principal source of revenue" for Finks bikie gang in a dossier which also details the club's involvement in pack rape, drug trafficking, bashings and shootings.Prepared last year for the South Australian Government as part of new laws to target the Finks, the document reveals that 42 of the gang's 46 members in SA - which includes some now living in Perth - have serious criminal records.The dossier highlights the challenge faced by WA Police trying to combat the gang's expansion here since it joined forces with ousted Coffin Cheater bikie Troy Desmond Mercanti in 2008.In the past four years, there have been 111 allegations of blackmail made against the Finks in SA, of which 40 were formally investigated and involved 24 members of the gang. But only a handful of cases resulted in charges because the victims were too scared to give evidence.According to SA police, the Finks pose the greatest threat to public safety of any Australian bikie gang. One senior gang member has a business connection to Mercanti in WA."The members of the organisation associate for the purposes of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity," the document said.A registered association since 1991, the Finks Motorcycle Club tells a different story in its application for incorporation. "Establishing, carrying on, improving a community meeting place and promoting the interests of motorcycle enthusiasts within the local community," the document said.Over the past fortnight, two Finks associates in WA have been arrested at a Swan Valley concert or the gang's Balga clubhouse with unlicensed guns. Both have histories of violence, including a multiple stabbing and threats to injure.
One of the men is a 23-year-old Congolese refugee, whose father was jailed in Perth for stabbing his mother through the heart. The other is a South African-born Muslim, who once ran a children's clothing store, was a manager for a well-known WA car dealership and used the word "emails" as code when dealing ecstasy tablets from his gold Mercedes-Benz.But one of the most noticeable WA-based Finks is 2.03m-tall Matthew Thomas Ward, who is from South Australia and was convicted last year of having a loaded .357 Magnum handgun on a Kambalda mine site.Since the late 1960s, when the gang formed in Sydney, 162 convictions for violence have been recorded against Finks members.The gang's attempts to traffic in large quantities of the ingredients needed to manufacture methylamphetamine were confirmed in 2005, according to the document, when $380,000 was transferred by a Finks associate to Malaysia, which resulted in 38kg of pseudoephedrine being transported undetected into Australia inside children's books.
Between 1977 and 2008, there have been 173 convictions against Finks for serious drug crimes.Det-Supt Des Bray from the SA gang crime taskforce, who was in WA this week, said the Finks are by far his State's most violent bikie gang.
"If the Finks were to establish in WA that would be a bad thing but I think your police have done a very good job in containing them, locking them and putting a freezing order on the clubhouse," he said.

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