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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Suspicious package sent to RAH where Vince Focarelli is being treated


BIKIE leader Vince Focarelli has survived a fourth attempt on his life - but his son Giovanni was shot dead in a ''targeted attack'' in Adelaide's north. Read on for the latest updates on this rapidly developing story. The Royal Adelaide Hospital has reopened after a package addressed to shot bikie Vince Focarelli forced the evacuation of the hospital's main foyer. The package was intercepted by police, who had treated it as suspicious. About 100 people were evacuated just before 5pm after the person who delivered the package to the hospital's information counter could not be found. Police bomb squad experts were called to the RAH to examine the package.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Perth bikie Troy Mercanti may have to go on a public waiting list for a new kidney after years of alcohol, drug and steroid abuse ruined his own.


The 44-year-old Finks motorcycle gang member was granted a bedside hearing in hospital yesterday after his lawyer said his medical condition had significantly deteriorated.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said Mercanti had been at odds with the law during his life but as an Australian citizen he would be treated like anyone else in the medical system.

Mercanti is facing charges after allegedly trying to smash his way into a couple's Duncraig home in Perth's north on Sunday following a suspected drug binge.

He remains under police guard in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Fury erupts over bikie 'war' claims


A GOLD Coast nightclub owner says it's time to clear the air on "sensationalised" reports of bikie gang violence in Surfers Paradise. But the club owner blasted police for allowing bikies to parade through the Glitter Strip wearing gang patches. "The police at Surfers Paradise should hang their heads in shame as they are the ones unable to control these sorts of incidents," the club owner said. "They don't see trouble walk past the station at 2.30am on a weekend with gang members wearing full colours?

Troy Mercanti To Have Bedside Hearing


Finks motorcycle gang member Troy Mercanti will have a bedside court hearing this afternoon due to his "significantly deteriorating" mental and physical state, a Perth court was told. Mr Mercanti was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning, charged with aggravated assault and trespassing following a home invasion in Duncraig. He has also been charged with assault charges in relation to another incident earlier this month, and police are yet to lay charges over the alleged discovery of drugs and ammunition in his home. Advertisement: Story continues below Mr Mercanti has been under police guard in a Perth hospital since his arrest in the early hours of Sunday, and was suffering from significant physical trauma which may include amphetamine abuse, the court heard on Monday. His lawyer Laurie Levy said today that Mr Mercanti's condition had deteriorated significantly, and he successfully applied for a bedside hearing this afternoon. Mr Mercanti was arrested and taken to hospital after police were called to the home of a Duncraig couple at 4.15am on Sunday, where they allegedly found Mr Mercanti bashing on the door. Police from the organised crime squad then carried out a raid on his home - less than one kilometre away - where it is alleged drugs and ammunition were found. Mr Mercanti was charged with one count of acts intended to cause bodily harm, three aggravated assaults occasioning bodily harm and one aggravated indecent assault. Those charges related to separate incidents which took place earlier this month. He was also charged with trespassing and damage, relating to the incident on Sunday. Mr Mercanti was due to have a bedside hearing on Monday, but the matter was postponed to this morning due to his ailing health. The court was told on Monday that Mr Mercanti had "significant physical trauma" but there was not any issues regarding his mental capacity at the moment. Mr Levy today argued that Mr Mercanti's current custody condition prevented him access from family and friends who could advise over the types of medical treatment that he needed. Police prosecutor Sergeant Andy Elliott did not oppose holding a bedside hearing so the gang crime detectives could be put back on the street and Serco guards put in their place at the hospital. Mr Mercanti's medical records have not yet been presented before the courts. He was not expected to apply for bail, however he will be read the full list of charges in relation to the incident on Sunday. Mr Mercanti was released from prison in August last year after he was jailed for causing grievous bodily harm in 2007. His defection to the Finks in 2008 sparked a feud between the two outlaw motorcycle gangs who have since engaged in violent clashes, including a brawl at the Kwinana Motorplex in 2010 in which a Finks member lost three fingers.

Hell's Lovers gang infiltrated in Denver


Investigators raided a Hell's Lovers motorcycle gang in Denver Friday night. Many of the motorcycle gang suspects are now in jail awaiting a court hearing Monday. The arrests come after a near three-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF agents raided the home and arrested at least 15 gang members for "violent crime." "We are not talking about traditional gang violence with younger youth that are from 17 to 24, which make up the bulk of gang violence. We are talking about...grandfathers even; some of them have different professions," says Terrance Roberts, a gang expert. The gang was formed in Chicago in the late 1960's, and has now spread to Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas. Agents say the gang has been associated with cocaine trafficking and use of weapons and explosives.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Lone Wolf's golden farewell


A WAILING mother speaks to her dead son. ''Stand up and say hello to your guests,'' she urges him, apparently unwilling to accept he is dead. But he is the man in the coffin - the $42,000 gold-plated coffin, paid for in cash by his bikie mates. This was the funeral yesterday for the Lone Wolf member Neal Todorovski, who was shot in the head on January 4 during a shoot-out in Sans Souci, southern Sydney, the first death from a succession of gun attacks across Sydney. Mr Todorovski, 37, had been armed with a gun that day. And the congregation at St Nikola Macedonian Orthodox Church in Cabramatta, south-western Sydney, yesterday included many men associated with outlaw bike gangs. But police fear innocent bystanders will be the next victims of the spike in shootings. They worry more deaths will follow as disputes spiral into tit-for-tat shootings, some related, some not. A senior Lone Wolf told The Sun-Herald the Todorovski shooting was not a turf war but over ''something petty and silly''. He said: ''I'm not sure what's wrong with the world. To die like this over nothing is just stupid.'' Many bikies at the Todorovski service were visibly distraught, weeping, hugging each other. They included Finks and Comanchero members. A Lone Wolf said an arrest in Perth over the shooting followed the police interception of a telephone conversation. Detective Wayne Hayes, acting commander of the gang squad, said the Lone Wolf gang had eight chapters in NSW with about 96 members. The Todorovski killing ''had nothing indicating expansion'' into new territory, he said. Strike Force Lobbe - one of four strike forces investigating the Sydney shootings - identified a Maroubra man, 25-year-old Tarek Abdallah, as the suspect in the Todorovski shooting. Mr Abdallah faced a Perth court on Friday and is expected to be extradited to NSW this week. Mr Todorovski had been armed with a pistol when he left his flat with two friends, Matthew Edward Lewis, 23, and John Haper Leger, 32, to meet Mr Abdallah in front of his four-wheel-drive. In court police alleged a scuffle broke out and Mr Abdallah managed to pull a handgun from his car and shoot Mr Todorovski in the head. They allege Mr Lewis and Mr Leger refused to co-operate and arrested the pair for concealing an indictable offence and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The head of the Hell’s Angels in Iceland was arrested yesterday and remand in custody for a week

The head of the Hell’s Angels in Iceland was arrested yesterday and remand in custody for a week, accused of having ordered attacks on a woman. A total of five people connected to the Hell’s Angels are in custody over the case. 

In the early hours of the 22nd December a physical assault in a residential building in Hafnarfjörður, near Reykjavík, was reported to police. Initial stories about the attack stated that a couple in their 30s had burst into the woman’s flat and attacked her violently. She was later transported, unconscious, to hospital. The police arrested the couple and put them in custody.

As the investigation progressed, the spotlight started to pan wider and according to RÚV sources putting the couple behind bars clearly did not work, because the woman was violently attacked again. Extra resources were quickly applied to the investigation and two more people were arrested and put behind bars.

Yesterday the case’s fifth arrested suspect, the head of the Hell’s Angels Iceland organisation, was also remand in custody for one week. According to sources, he is accused of ordering the attacks on the woman – reportedly as revenge for something.

All five in custody while the police continue their investigation are in isolation for the good of the case, so they cannot consult each other on their alibis.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Street gangs with outside muscle, targeting the Hells Angels

- Street gangs with outside muscle, targeting the Hells Angels, have sparked the outburst of violence that's left five adult businesses in flames and two people shot, London police said Wednesday.

Police vowed to end the violence, even as organized-crime analysts and criminal sources disputed if the Hells had the clout in London to battle back.

Late Wednesday, three of the men police arrested -- two from London, one from Brampton -- appeared in court by video to answer early charges related to the shooting. All three men are black, giving credence to the police theory biker gangs -- which don't usually allow black members -- aren't responsible for the recent violence.

Whoever is responsible for the fires and shootings, they'll have to answer for it, Chief Brad Duncan vowed at a news conference.

"You are priority No. 1," Duncan warned. "We will not tolerate this open display of violence. This shooting has taken place in a residential area, in close proximity to a public school, and notwithstanding the time of day that it occurred, it has put our citizens at grave risk."

The weapon involved in the shooting hasn't been found, police said.

Police held the news conference partly to quell rumours the violence was a result of a battle between the Hells Angels and their traditional rivals, the Outlaws, another biker gang.

"There is not information at this time to support such an assumption," Duncan said.

But street gangs "can be every bit as dangerous as the more traditional outlaw motorcycle clubs," he warned. "They are associated with the drug trade. Guns and firearms are involved. They are every bit as organized."

Street gangs have no fear of the Hells Angels or any outlaw motorcycle club, biker analyst Yves Lavigne told QMI Agency.

In London, the street gangs have taken over the drug-trafficking market because traditional biker clubs lost their power, said Lavigne, author and co-author of several books about outlaw bikers and drug trafficking.


In December, the revived Hells Angels chapter in London began leaning on the street-gang members to start working for them, he said.

"What you've seen the past five days is the street gangs telling the Hells Angels, 'Screw you.' "

Full of new members with little hardcore experience, the London Hells Angels don't have the backbone to retaliate, Lavigne said.

"They don't have what it takes."

But another organized crime analyst and author, James Dubro, disagreed.

"The Hells Angels have to hit back. It's a total lack of respect," he said. "There has to be retaliation and serious retaliation."

Dubro said the news that a street gang, not the Outlaws, is targeting the Hells Angels could spell even more trouble in London.

"In the end, it leads to more violence and more chaos in the underworld," he said. "Hells Angels has it all. You couldn't possibly take them on."

Two sources with knowledge of London's criminal world said they're expecting the London Hells Angels will bring in supporters from out of town to deal with the matter.

"You've got all the boys coming in. It's going to go on until someone gets killed," said one long-time associate of bikers.

The outburst of violence began Saturday morning, when a tattoo parlour on Hamilton Road owned by a member of the Outlaws, was set ablaze. That was followed by fires at a strip club owned by a Hells Angels leader, and two massage parlours, Sunday morning.

The sequence of fires suggested the Outlaws and Hells Angels were in the early stages of a war.

The violence escalated Wednesday morning, just after midnight, when two people were shot outside a purported clubhouse of the Hells Angels on Grey Street.

A female victim was treated for gunshot wounds and released. A male victim remains in hospital in serious condition, police said.

Police wouldn't release the names of the victims, but said the man was a known member of the Hells Angels and the woman an associate of his.

Sources told QMI Agency the male victim is Diamond Ialenti, a full-patch member of the Hells Angels.

The victim "has had ongoing issues with street gangs," Duncan said.

Asked if it's unusual for London street gangs to hire outside muscle, Duncan noted many other shootings in the city have involved drug dealers and gang members from the Greater Toronto Area and other areas.

"In many of our previous investigations, shooting investigations and homicide investigations, that fact has come out fairly clear."

Duncan said police were still trying to figure how an Outlaws-associated business got mixed up with a battle between street gangs and the Hells Angels.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

RBS to cut 3,500 jobs in investment bank shake-up


The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has said it is planning to cut 3,500 jobs, with most of them to happen this year. The cuts are part of a reorganisation and shrinkage of its investment bank. The losses, which will be split between its UK and international offices, come on top of 2,000 cuts announced earlier. Its "wholesale banking" business, which provides services to large clients including investment banking services, will be split into separate "markets" and "international banking" divisions. The markets division - which comprises RBS' main trading activities - will focus on the bank's traditional strengths of debt, currency and money markets, the bank said in its statement. The wholesale banking division will provide services for the bank's biggest clients. These will include corporate advisory services transferred from its investment bank - such as helping major companies borrow money by issuing bonds - as well as cash management and payments services. The bank has already shed some 30,000 employees over the last two years, 22,000 of them in the UK. "It is a disgrace that while on a daily basis, stories are emerging about the massive bonuses at the top of the bank, increasing numbers of jobs are being cut from amongst the hard working staff," said David Fleming of the Unite union. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote For a bank that has shed 30,000 jobs over the past couple of years, a further 3,500 departures may not seem massive” Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News Read Robert's blog Markets took the statement well, although many of the details had been flagged up in advance. RBS's share price rose 6.8% in morning trading, outperforming other banks and other large companies on the FTSE 100 index. Cutting back The bank said that it planned to close or sell off other business lines, such as those dealing with shares and stock markets, as well as its business advising companies on mergers and acquisitions. It is also looking to dispose of its corporate brokerage, Hoare Govett. These business lines were ones that had been added or expanded only in recent years under the leadership of former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin. Continue reading the main story Royal Bank of Scotland Group RBS also said in its statement that the size of the balance sheet - the total loans and investments - of its former investment banking division would be reduced by more than a quarter, from £420bn to £300bn, over three years. This will enable it to cut its borrowing from wholesale money markets - which evaporated during the 2008 financial crisis, threatening the bank's collapse - by £75bn. "The overall aim is to improve profits and reduce risks," says the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston. "Which matters to most of us, since taxpayers are sitting on losses of £26bn on the £45.5bn they invested in RBS to rescue it." However, he also notes that the business lines being disposed of were not the ones responsible for causing RBS its huge losses during and after the 2008 financial crisis. UK clients RBS said the restructuring was also designed to prepare the bank for new UK regulatory requirements for banks to ring-fence their core UK operations from their riskier investment banking activities. Continue reading the main story Crisis jargon buster Use the dropdown for easy-to-understand explanations of key financial terms: Investment bank Investment bank Investment banks provide financial services for governments, companies or extremely rich individuals. They differ from commercial banks where you have your savings or your mortgage. Traditionally investment banks provided underwriting, and financial advice on mergers and acquisitions, and how to raise money in the financial markets. The term is also commonly used to describe the more risky activities typically undertaken by such firms, including trading directly in financial markets for their own account. Glossary in full The bank's dealings with British small and medium-sized companies will accordingly be transferred away from the new international banking division, and handled via its UK banks. There was no mention of any specific downscaling of its international operations. However, there has been speculation that its operations in the Irish Republic - including Ulster Bank, which RBS bought in 2000 - and in Australia may be affected Chancellor George Osborne announced the change in strategy at the bank in December 2011. "Investment banking will continue to support RBS's corporate lending business but RBS will make further significant reductions in the investment bank, scaling back riskier activities that are heavy users of capital or funding," Mr Osborne told Parliament in December. Mr Osborne's announcement came in the wake of a report into the bank by the Financial Services Authority in December 2011 which pointed to "errors of judgement and execution" by RBS management which led to its failure in 2008. The bank is now 82%-owned by the UK government after taxpayers injected £45.5bn of new capital into RBS.

Sydney's western suburbs came under siege again on Thursday about 12.30am (AEDT) when shots rang out in Bankstown


Police have declared war on the gangs responsible for four Sydney shootings in as many days. And any would-be vigilantes and copycats have also been warned to butt out. Sydney's western suburbs came under siege again on Thursday about 12.30am (AEDT) when shots rang out in Bankstown Witnesses told police they saw a man wielding a rifle in a neighbourhood where a bullet hit a bedroom window in a home. A woman and her four children, aged between two months and 10, were in the room but no one was injured. Acting Commissioner Nick Kaldas labelled as cowards the people responsible for a string of shootings since Monday. "A lot of the conflicts that occur between these criminal groups is drug-related, unfortunately," Mr Kaldas told reporters on Thursday. "It's a combination of many ethnic-based groups as well as criminal types." Police launched Operation Spartan on Thursday and will deploy extra resources to the affected suburbs from the Public Order and Riot Squad, Dog Squad, Gangs Squad and the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad. Gangs Squad head Arthur Katsogiannis said the nature of the crimes was keeping vital information from getting to police. "Our frustration as investigators and police officers on the front line is the lack of assistance we're getting from both the victims and the witnesses," Superintendent Katsogiannis said at the same media conference. Police also warned would-be vigilantes and others to stay away. "One thing I hope that doesn't occur is any sort of copycat attraction," Mr Kaldas said. "Others may feel they want to take the law into their own hands. And my advice to those people is all you'll simply do is turn yourself from a victim into an offender." Mr Kaldas denied suggestions that gun crime was on the increase and said the incidents since Monday were a "spike" in shooting crimes. Around 2am (AEDT) on Wednesday the occupants of two cars were involved in a gun battle in Greenfield Park, in western Sydney. On Monday night, two drive-by attacks occurred in Auburn and Arncliffe, in Sydney's west and south respectively. Around 25 people were inside the two homes when the properties were sprayed with up to 35 bullets. Police are confident they will make arrests over some of the shootings. Asked if the shootings were all related, Mr Kaldas replied, "I have to say the bulk of them are not." NSW opposition emergency spokesman Nathan Rees said tweaking tough anti-bikie laws would be one way to help put an end to "gang warfare". As premier in the former Labor government, Mr Rees gave the Supreme Court powers to outlaw bikie gangs and prevent members from contacting each other. But the Crimes (Criminal Organisation Control) Act was struck out in June 2011 after Sydney Hells Angel Derek Wainohu challenged it in the High Court. The National Coalition for Gun Control has called on NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and the government to strengthen gun control laws. Police seized 6155 guns in the 2010/11 financial year and have seized 3663 guns in the first half of the current financial year. Most guns used in crimes are stolen from legitimate sources.

Turf war feared as Gypsy Joker bikies descend on Brisbane hotel


ONE of Australia's most notorious bikie gangs is poised to expand its presence in Queensland, prompting fears of a turf war. But Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson says the public will be warned first if there's real danger of conflict. The Gypsy Jokers are this week expected to gather at an inner-city Brisbane hotel, catching the attention of police. The fears follow a spate of bikie violence and a subsequent police crackdown resulting in more arrests and almost 40 people being banned from Surfers Paradise's party precinct.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

violent felon who allegedly shot a parole officer in the face, prompting a four-hour manhunt in Lake View Terrace

 violent felon who allegedly shot a parole officer in the face, prompting a four-hour manhunt in Lake View Terrace Wednesday triggered a similar standoff with police in Sylmar nearly a decade before.
Steven Hoff, 43, was taken into custody Wednesday after a search that shut down the Foothill (210) Freeway and led authorities to lock down a 3-square-mile area.
Parole agents, working with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies, had been looking for Hoff for an alleged parole violation. As they approached a trailer near the 11000 block of Foothill Boulevard about 1:30 p.m. in search of Hoff, the suspect allegedly fired at one of the agents. The injured parole officer's partner fired back, but the shooter fled.

Shooting suspect Steven Hoff in a May 17, 2011 mug shot.
Hoff was found about 6 p.m. hiding in an empty swimming pool, sniffed out by a K-9 unit dog, authorities said.
"The K-9 bit him and then we went in and handcuffed him and brought him out," said Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore. "The situation was very volatile, and for a while unknown."
Both Hoff and the injured parole agent, whose name was not released, were hospitalized in serious but stable condition on Thursday. Hoff won't be booked until he is medically ready, Whitmore said.
Hoff was released from prison in January 2011 after after being convicted in San Fernando Courthouse for attempted burglary, according to state and county records. He stopped reporting for parole meetings in July and has been wanted since then, authorities said.
He has been in and out of prison for drug, burglary and weapons convictions beginning in 1989.
Hoff often served half of his sentence because state law allows non-violent criminals -- including those convicted for possession of firearms -- to get double credit for each day behind bars, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Luis Patino said.
The shorter amount of time Hoff served and his release last year are not the result of Gov. Jerry Brown's controversial realignment program, which shifts responsibility for many nonviolent inmates from state prison to county jails, Patino said.
On Wednesday, Hoff was the target of the California Parole Apprehension Team, which was created in 2009 to focus on at-large parolees who pose the greatest risk to public safety, according to the statement.
The manhunt, which led to major freeway delays that spilled over onto surface streets, was similar to a dramatic, nine-hour police standoff in 2002 that ended when police fired tear gas canisters into the Sylmar home where Hoff was barricaded.
At the time, Hoff was wanted for allegedly fatally shooting Diablos motorcycle gang member Richard Dierking in California City. Hoff shot Dierking for "disrespecting" him during his initiation into the notorious gang, authorities said at the time.
However, Hoff went free less than four months after his arrest when charges of first-degree murder and robbery were dismissed, according to Kern County court records. A spokeswoman for the Kern County District Attorney's Office said details of the case were not immediately available.
"This dude has a long and storied history with us," a corrections department spokesman told the Daily News when Hoff was arrested in 2002.
On Thursday, corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said employees were "relieved" that the parole agent who had been shot was recovering after surgery.
"Watching video and pictures of this agent sitting up and giving information to his brother law enforcement officer, even after he had been shot in the face, reminded us all of the valor and determination that our agents exhibit out in the field every day. ...," Cate said in a written statement.
The department has sent a deadly-force investigation team, required under state law, to review the shootings.

HE WAS the target of a gunman's midnight ambush and his alleged associates engaged in a gunfight at a North Adelaide cafe.

Vincenzo Focarelli

Alleged member of the New Boys street gang Vincenzo Focarelli outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

Yesterday Comanchero chief Vince Focarelli denied his outlaw club was being torn apart from the inside.

Focarelli broke his silence to counter rumours that the Comanchero Motorcycle Club is plagued by infighting.

In a statement signed by him and released yesterday, he called for privacy.

"Mr Focarelli denies there is any disharmony or in-house fighting within the Comancheros Motorcycle Club," it said.

He "has been released from hospital and wishes to express his sincere gratitude to the medical staff who provided specialist treatment and acted with complete professionalism at all times.

"Mr Focarelli confirms that he is expected to make a full recovery.

"Mr Focarelli calls upon the media and community to please respect the privacy of his wife and five children."

Focarelli, 36, was the target of an attack at a Munno Para West home on December 15.

He was showered with bullets, one which hit him in the upper leg, then escaped by smashing a window of a nearby home, crawling through it and fleeing through a back door.

He left a trail of blood and it is believed the lacerations to his arm were serious.

Focarelli underwent surgery at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and was in medical care for at least two weeks.

Days after Focarelli was shot, alleged Comancheros associates opened fire on one another at Caffe Paesano on a busy Sunday evening.

The gunfight started at 9.30pm when a man entered the restaurant, drew a gun and fired at three men sitting at an outside table.

At least one returned fire, hitting their target in the leg before he fled the premises.

On Thursday police arrested a Salisbury North man, 24, in relation to the incident. He was charged him with one aggravated count of endangering life and was remanded in custody.

Meanwhile, an alleged Comanchero will be extradited to South Australia on Monday. He was arrested in Port Melbourne over a stabbing that happened in Adelaide in 2008.

Victoria Police arrested the Para Hills man, 23, on Thursday evening.


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