FEARED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ..HERE IS SOME INTRIGUING INTERACTIVE BACKGROUND FOOTAGE TOUCHING UPON THIS NOTORIOUS BIKER GANG…WELL WORTH A VIEW
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) is a worldwide one-percenter motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate whose members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In the United States and Canada, the Hells Angels are incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation. Their primary motto is “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets”.
Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service classify the Angels as one of the “big four” motorcycle gangs, contending that members carry out widespread violence, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods, and extortion. Members of the organization have continuously asserted that they are only a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who have joined to ride motorcycles together, to organize social events such as group road trips, fundraisers, parties, and motorcycle rallies.
The Hells Angels were originally formed in 1948 in Fontana, California through an amalgamation of former members from different motorcycle clubs, such as The Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington. The Hells Angels website denies the suggestion that any misfit or malcontent troops are connected with the motorcycle club. However, the website notes that the name was suggested by Arvid Olsen, an associate of the founders, who had served in the Flying Tigers “Hells Angels” squadron in China during World War II.The name “Hells Angels” was believed[by whom?] to have been inspired by the common historical use, in both World War I and World War II, to name squadrons or other fighting groups by a fierce, death-defying name. The Flying Tigers (American Volunteer Group) in Burma and China fielded three squadrons of P-40s; the Third Squadron was named “Hell’s Angels”. The 1930 Howard Hughesfilm Hell’s Angels displayed extraordinary and dangerous feats of aviation, and it is believed that the World War II groups who used that name based it on the film.History
Some of the early history of the HAMC is not clear, and accounts differ. According to Ralph ‘Sonny’ Barger, founder of the Oakland chapter, early chapters of the club were founded in San Francisco,Gardena, Fontana, as well as his chapter in Oakland, and other places independently of one another, with the members usually being unaware that there were other Hells Angels clubs.
Other sources claim that the Hells Angels in San Francisco were originally organized in 1953 by Rocky Graves, a Hells Angel member from San Bernardino (“Berdoo”). This implies that the “Frisco” Hells Angels were very much aware of their forebearers. According to another account, the Hells Angels club was a successor to “P.O.B.O.B.” Motorcycle club, The “Frisco” Hells Angels were reorganized in 1955 with thirteen charter members; Frank Sadliek, who designed the original death’s head logo, served as President. The Oakland chapter, at that time headed by Barger, used a larger version of the patch nicknamed the “Barger Larger” which was first used in 1959 and later became the club standard.
The Hells Angels are sometimes depicted in a similar mythical fashion as the James-Younger Gang, as modern day legends, or as free spirited and iconic of an era of brotherhood and loyalty. Others describe them as a violent criminal gang and a scourge on society. The 1966 Roger Corman film, The Wild Angels depicts the gang as violent and nihilistic.
The Hells Angels official web site attributes the official “death’s head” insignia design to Frank Sadilek, past president of the San Francisco Chapter. The colors and shape of the early-style jacket emblem (prior to 1953) were copied from the insignias of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron.
The Hells Angels utilize a system of patches, similar to military medals. Although the specific meaning of each patch is not publicly known, the patches identify specific or significant actions or beliefs of each biker. The official colors of the Hells Angels are red lettering displayed on a white background—hence the club’s nickname “The Red and White”. These patches are worn on leather or denim jackets and vests.
Red and white are also used to display the number 81 on many patches, as in “Support 81, Route 81″. The 8 and 1 stand for the respective positions in the alphabet of H and A. These are used by friends and supporters of the club, as only full members can wear any Hells Angels imagery.
The diamond-shaped one-percenter patch is also used, displaying ‘1%’, in red on a white background with a red merrowedborder. The term one-percenter is said to be a response to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) comment on theHollister incident, to the effect that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens and the last 1% were outlaws. The AMA has no record of such a statement to the press, and call this story apocryphal.
Most members wear a rectangular patch (again, white background with red letters and a red merrowed border) identifying their respective chapter locations. Another similarly designed patch reads “Hells Angels”.
When applicable, members of the club wear a patch denoting their position or rank within the organization. The patch is rectangular, and, similarly to the patches described above, displays a white background with red letters and a red merrowed border. Some examples of the titles used are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms. This patch is usually worn above the ‘club location’ patch.
Some members also wear a patch with the initials “AFFA“, which stands for “Angels Forever; Forever Angels”, referring to their lifelong membership in the biker club (i.e., “once a member, always a member”).
The book Gangs, written by Tony Thompson (a crime correspondent for The Observer), states that Stephen Cunningham, a member of the Angels, sported a new patch after he recovered from attempting to set a bomb: two Nazi-style SS lightning bolts below the words ‘Filthy Few’. Some law enforcement officials claim that the patch is only awarded to those who have committed, or are prepared to commit, murder on behalf of the club. According to a report from the R. v. Bonner and Lindsay case in 2005 (see related section below), another patch, similar to the ‘Filthy Few’ patch, is the ‘Dequiallo’ patch. This patch “signifies that the wearer has fought law enforcement on arrest”. There is no common convention as to where the patches are located on the members’ jacket/vest.
In March 2007, the Hells Angels filed suit against Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group alleging that the film entitled Wild Hogs used both the name and distinctive logo of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation without permission. The suit was eventually voluntarily dismissed, after it received assurances that its references would not appear in the film.
In October 2010, the Hells Angels filed a lawsuit against Alexander McQueen for “misusing its trademark winged death heads symbol” in several items from its Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. The lawsuit is also aimed at Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos.com, which stock the jacquard box dress and knuckle duster ring which bear the symbol which is protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since at least 1948. A handbag and scarf was also named in lawsuit. The lawyer representing Hells Angels claimed “This isn’t just about money, it’s about membership. If you’ve got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you’re an impostor.” Saks refused to comment, Zappos had no immediate comment and the company’s parent company, PPR, could not be reached for comment. The company settled the case with the Hells Angels after agreeing to remove all of the merchandise featuring the logo from sale on their website, stores and concessions and recalling any of the goods which have already been sold and destroying them.
The full requirements to become a Hells Angel are the following: candidates must have a valid driver’s license, have a working motorcycle and cannot be a child molester or have applied to become a police officer or prison guard.
After a lengthy, phased process, a prospective member is first deemed to be a ‘Hang-around’, indicating that the individual is invited to some club events or to meet club members at known gathering places.
If the Hang-around is interested, he may be asked to become an ‘Associate’, a status that usually lasts a year or two. At the end of that stage, he is reclassified as ‘Prospect’, participating in some club activities, but not having voting privileges, while he is evaluated for suitability as a full member. The last phase, and highest membership status, is ‘Full Membership’ or ‘Full-Patch’. The term Full-Patch refers to the complete four-piece crest, including the ‘Death Head’ logo, two rockers (top rocker: ‘Hells Angels'; bottom rocker: State or Territory claimed) and the rectangular ‘MC’ patch below the wing of the Death’s Head. Prospects are allowed to wear only a bottom rocker with the State or Territory name along with the rectangular ‘MC’ patch.
To become a full member, the Prospect must be voted on by the rest of the full club members. Prior to votes being cast, a Prospect usually travels to every chapter in the sponsoring chapter’s geographic jurisdiction (state/province/territory) and introduces himself to every Full-Patch. This process allows each voting member to become familiar with the subject and to ask any questions of concern prior to the vote. Successful admission usually requires more than a simple majority, and some clubs may reject a Prospect for a single dissenting vote. Some form of formal induction follows, wherein the Prospect affirms his loyalty to the club and its members. The final logo patch (top Hells Angelsrocker) is then awarded at this initiation ceremony. The step of attaining full membership can be referred to as “being patched”.
Even after a member is patched-in, the patches themselves remain the property of HAMC rather than the member. On leaving the Hells Angels, or being ejected, they must be returned to the club.
A Hells Angels wall mural in Southampton, UK, a well-known local landmark that can be seen by rail passengers on the London Waterloo to Weymouth south coast main line as they approach Southampton Central station.
The HAMC acknowledges more than one hundred chapters spread over 29 countries. The first official chapter outside of the US was formed in New Zealand in 1961. Europe did not become home to the Hells Angels until 1969, when two London chapters were formed after the Beatle George Harrisoninvited some members of the HAMC San Francisco to London. Two people from London visited California, “prospected”, and ultimately joined. Two charters were issued on July 30, 1969; one for “South London”, the other for “East London” but by 1973 the two charters came together as one, simply called “London”. The London Angels provided security at a number of UK Underground festivals including Phun City in 1970 organized by anarchistInternational Times writer and lead singer with The Deviants Mick Farren. They even awarded Farren an “approval patch” in 1970 for use on his first solo album Mona, which also featured Steve Peregrin Took (who was credited as “Shagrat the Vagrant”). The 1980s and 1990s saw a major expansion of the club into Canada.
A list of acknowledged chapters can be found on the HAMC club’s official web site.
On June 18, 2007, a Hells Angels member fired 6 shots at passers-by who tried to help the member’s girlfriend, killing Brendan Keilar and critically wounding two others. On May 12, 2008, Christopher Wayne Hudson pleaded guilty to the murder of Keilar and other offenses committed during the shooting. The Hells Angels however allegedly abducted him and burnt a club tattoo off his forearm before surrendering him to police for his crimes.
Members of the Comancheros and Hells Angels were believed to be involved in a clash at Sydney Airport on Sunday, March 22, 2009. The clash resulted in one man, Hells Angels associate Anthony Zervas, being beaten to death and police estimated as many as 15 men were involved in the violence. Police documents detail the brawl as a result of a Comanchero gang member and a Hells Angel being on the same flight from Melbourne. Four suspects were arrested as a result of the altercation. As a result of heightening violence, New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees announced the state police anti-gang squad would be boosted to 125 members from 50.
On the night of March 29, 2009, Hells Angels member Peter Zervas, the brother of the man killed during the Sydney Airport Brawl a week earlier, was shot and injured as he left his car outside his home.
On July 20, 2011, a NSW judge dismissed a bid by the state’s police commissioner to have the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club declared a criminal organisation, under laws introduced to NSW parliament in 2009 allowing the court to declare criminal organisations as declared organisations.
An April 2009 CBC News article stated that the Hells Angels have 34 chapters operating in Canada with 460 full-fledged (patched) members. The Hells Angels have 15 chapters in Ontario, 8 inBritish Columbia, 5 in Quebec, 3 in Alberta, 2 in Saskatchewan and 1 in Manitoba. In a speech to the House of Commons, Bloc Québécois MP Réal Ménard (Hochelaga) stated that there were 38 HAMC chapters across Canada in the mid-1990s. The Vancouver Sun newspaper reports that Canada has more Hells Angels members per capita than any other country, including the U.S., where there are chapters in about 20 states.
The Hells Angels established their first Canadian chapters in the province of Quebec during the seventies. The Outlaws and several affiliated independent clubs were able to keep the Angels from assuming a dominant position in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, until the nineties, while the Grim Reapers of Alberta, Los Bravos in Manitoba, and several other independent clubs across the prairies formed a loose alliance that kept the Hells Angels from assuming dominance in the prairie provinces until the late nineties. By 1997, under the leadership of Walter “Nurget” Stadnick, the Hells Angels had become the dominant club not just in BC and Quebec, but all across Canada, with chapters in at least seven of ten provinces and two of the three territories.
- Lindsay and Bonner trial
In 2002 Crown Prosecutor Graeme Williams sought to have the Hells Angels formally declared a “criminal organization” by applying the anti-gang legislation (Bill C-24) to a criminal prosecution involving the Hells Angels and two of its members, Stephen (Tiger) Lindsay and Raymond (Razor) Bonner.
The prosecution team launched a three year investigation with the aim of collecting evidence for the trial.
At the conclusion of the trial in June 2005, Ontario Justice Michelle Fuerst ruled that Lindsay and Bonner had committed extortion in association with a criminal organization and had used the Hells Angels’ reputation as a weapon.
In late 2004 to 2005 the culmination of investigations into the actions of the motorcycle club led to charges against 18 people including members of the Hells Angels and other associates of the gang.
In July 2003, a man offered to give police information. He became the police agent around whom much of the E-Pandora investigation ensued. Charges arose from project E-Pandora, an extensive police investigation, into the alleged criminal activities of the East End Charter of the Hells Angels (the “EEHA”). The evidence in this case included intercepted private communications including telephone and audio recordings, physical surveillance, and expert evidence. The case would eventually be dubbed the trial of R. v. Giles and see 3 charged individuals appear before the Supreme Court of British Columbia (SCBC). 72 appearances would span from May 14, 2007 until February 20, 2008 and, by order of Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie, include a publication ban on related trials.
On March 27, 2008, the SCBC Justice MacKenzie ruled against prosecutors who had attempted to convict a Hells Angels member of possession for the benefit of a criminal organization. Although two associates of the Hells Angels, David Roger Revell, 43, and Richard Andrew Rempel, 24, were convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking, Justice MacKenzie concluded that with the acquittal of the only Hells Angel member being tried, David Francis Giles, on a charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, a second charge against him (count two) of possessing it for the benefit of a criminal organization had to fail as well. In summary, Revell and Rempel were found guilty but Giles was found not guilty on either count. Also, Revell and Rempel were found not guilty on the charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
In her acquittal of Giles, Justice MacKenzie said she found the evidence against him was “weak” and intercepted communications were “unreliable” because they were difficult to hear. She further stated that the Crown prosecutors had failed to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt the group was working to the “benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization, to wit: the East End charter of the Hells Angels”.
In September 2006, after an 18 month investigation conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies and dubbed “Project Tandem,” 500 officers and 21 tactical teams raided property connected to the Hells Angels chapters in Ontario. At least 27 members were arrested of which 15 were members of the Hells Angels. Property seized was worth more than 1 million dollars and included $470,000 in cash, $300,000 in vehicles and $140,000 in motorcycles. During the raids, drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy were seized; the total street value of drugs seized was more than 3 million dollars.
In April 2007, after another 18 month investigation, this one dubbed “Project Develop,” 32 Club Houses were raided in Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia. The Hells Angels Clubhouse on 498 Eastern Avenue in Toronto was raided by the Biker Enforcement Unit of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and members of the Toronto Police Service on April 4, 2007, at least 15 members of the Hells Angels were detained and charged with drug and weapons offenses at the Eastern Avenue Clubhouse raid. According to police, Project Develop seized some 500 litres of GHB worth an estimated $996,000, nine kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of hashish and oxycodone and Viagra pills. Police also seized $21,000 in cash. Project Develop also seized 67 rifles, five handguns, three pairs of brass knuckles and a police baton.
On May 21, 2011, five of the accused arrested as part of Project Develop were convicted by a jury of various drug offenses including trafficking in cocaine and oxycodone, participating in a conspiracy to traffic GHB and possession of GHB for the purpose of trafficking. One of the accused was convicted of possessing a restricted firearm without a license. However, one accused was acquitted of two counts of trafficking handguns and possession of brass knuckles and another accused was acquitted of two counts of possessing unrestricted firearms without a license, two counts of trafficking oxycodone and one count of participating in a conspiracy to traffic GHB. Furthermore, all accused were acquitted of all charges of acting in association with, or for the benefit of, a criminal organization.
The Hells Angels’ expansion into Manitoba began with a relationship with Los Bravos, a local motorcycle club. In 2000 Los Bravos were “patched over,” becoming a full-fledged Hells Angels chapter.The following investigations over the last two years have been executed with the following charges.
On February 15, 2006 the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, along with over 150 police officers from the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service and Brandon Police Service, made numerous arrests and conducted searches as part of the investigation of Project Defense. Thirteen people were indicted on a variety of charges, including drug trafficking, extortion, proceeds of crime, and organized crime related offenses. Only 3 were members of the Hells Angels.
Project Defense was initiated in November 2004 and focused on high level members of drug trafficking cells in the province of Manitoba, including members of the Manitoba Hells Angels. During the investigation police made numerous seizures that totaled in excess of seven kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of methamphetamine from drug traffickers within the Manitoba Hells Angels organization and other drug trafficking cells. Arrest warrants were issued for thirteen individuals and 12 search warrants were authorized for locations in Winnipeg and area.
This long-term covert investigation was initiated by the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, which was established in the spring of 2004 when an Agreement was signed between the Winnipeg Police Service, the RCMP, the Brandon Police Service and the Province of Manitoba. The mandate of the task force was to disrupt and dismantle organized crime in the province of Manitoba.
On December 12, 2007 Project Drill came to an end, with Winnipeg Police raiding the Hells Angels clubhouse on Scotia Street. Project Drill started the previous evening with arrests in Thompson and continued throughout the night and early morning in Winnipeg and St. Pierre-Jolys. During the course of Project Drill, police seized vehicles, approximately $70,000 cash, firearms, marijuana, Hells Angel related documents/property and other offense related property. As of December 12, 14 people were in custody and four were still being sought.
Police said it was the second time the chapter president was the target in a police sting since the gang set up shop in the city in 2001. Hells Angels prospect member Al LeBras was also arrested at his Barber Street home in Wednesday’s raids.
The recently[when?] amended Criminal Property Forfeiture Act gives the province the power to seize the proceeds of crime. Police have exercised similar authority against Hells Angels members in other Canadian cities.
On December 2, 2009 Project Divide culminated with 26 arrests, and 8 arrest warrants still outstanding after the year long investigation. The investigation and arrests targeted alleged drug-trafficking and related activities of the Zig Zag Crew – a puppet club of the Hells Angels Winnipeg chapter.
Other joint investigations include:
- Project Develop, a joint 18-month investigation with Ontario, New Brunswick, and British Columbia
- In January 2006, Project Husky, a two-year investigation involving police forces in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, resulted in the arrest of twenty-seven suspects including five full-patch Angels from across Eastern and Central Canada
- Project Koker, 23-month investigation in Edmonton and Calgary
- Project Halo, a three-year investigation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Team of the RCMP, into alleged criminal activity with the Nanaimo chapter. The investigation culminated in the search warrant being executed on December 12, 2003. On November 9, 2007 a seizure order was executed, under Section 467.12(1) of the Criminal Code, on the clubhouse by dozens of heavily armed RCMP officers.
The emergence of biker gangs in Quebec happened at the same time as they were emerging in the United States. Although instead of the gangs being created by World War II veterans, it began as a part of Quebec’s social history because of the economic crisis of the 1920s many of Quebec’s urban population began heading for the rural communities in order to cultivate lands to provide for themselves and their families. The settlers children , like many youth of this era wanted to rebel, resulting in the formation of motorcycle clubs which was seen as an expression of rebellion. By the 1960s there were about 150 motorcycle clubs in Quebec that mimicked almost all the same characteristics as the American biker clubs although they operated in rural communities instead of in major cities. The expansion of these groups really began flourishing during the 1970s as a few popular gangs notably the Hells Angels and the Outlaws grew almost 45 % due to Quebec’s biker groups affiliated themselves with their America counterparts. The Quebec chapter of the Hells Angels at its prime included various clubhouses across Quebec which housed many of the gang’s puppet groups who would often carry out many of the gangs criminal activity. Every Quebec region had its own puppet club: Rowdy Crew Montreal, Evil Ones Drummondville, Satan’s Guard Saguenay, and Jokers St-Jean, which includes Maurice Boucher’s son Francis Boucher as a full-fledged member.
Maurice (aka Mom) Boucher was the leader of the Quebec chapters and second-in-command of the Canadian Nomad chapter, a chapter with no fixed geographic base. In May 2002 Boucher received an automatic life sentence, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years, after conviction two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of two Canadian prison guards, ambushed on their way home. On April 15, 2009, operation SharQc was conducted by the provincial police force Sûreté du Québec.
The first specialized organized crime law enforcement task force in the province was composed of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) , the Sûreté du Québec and the Montréal Police. Their goal was to ultimately investigate the Nomad chapter of the Hells Angels in the Montreal and Quebec City region until it was dismantled two years later to make way for a bigger, province -wide Task force. The Hells Angels threat in Quebec and Canada resulted in the first anti-gang law in Canadian legislation, as they saw its success in the United States after the establishment of their anti-gang legislation known as RICO. Furthermore, this was not the only reason for the establishment of such legislation, because during the period it was created, many Montrealers were experiencing a high volume of violent acts which threatened innocent civilians.
The tough shell of secrecy that protected the Hells Angels for years finally cracked during an investigation that has resulted in the arrests of almost every member of the gang in Quebec. On April 15, 2009, operation SharQc was conducted by the provincial police force Sûreté du Québec. It is the biggest strike at the HAMC in Canada’s history and probably in all of HAMC’s history. In all, 177 strikes were conducted by the police, 123 members were arrested, charges were mostly for first-degree murder, attempted murder, gangsterism or drug trafficking. The police seized $5 million in cash, dozens of kilograms of cocaine, marijuana and hashish, and thousands of pills. The operation could lead to the closing of 22 unsolved murders. Operation SharQc involved a full-patch member of the gang turning informant, a very rare occurrence in Quebec.
In 1980, Hells Angels members murdered a nightclub manager on the island of Sylt. On August 11, 1983, 500 police officers stormed the clubhouse “Angels Place” in the red-light district Sternschanze and arrested the leaders of the Hells Angels of Hamburg. In 1986, thirteen members were sentenced between 6 months to 7 years in prison and the Hamburg charter and its symbols were banned.Despite the ban, today there is again a Hells Angels charter in Hamburg under the name of “Harbor City”, because the association is not prohibited as such, but only wearing its symbols.
The other Hells Angels members and 250 of 497 members of the motorcycle club “Bones” in Hannover under its President Frank Hanebuth, who is a colorful character in the red-light scene of Hannover, took over the power in the Hamburg Kiez and controlled numerous brothels, including the „Laufhaus“ and the „Pascha“, on the Reeperbahn. Some women were forced into prostitution with brutal violence. At the height of its power in the summer of 2000, the monthly brothel sales amounted to €150.000 (DM300.000). After a leading member of the Hells Angels, Norbert “Butcher” S., 34,had beaten up a 42-year old woman, waitress, prostitute, cocaine addict and drug courier, who tried to burn herself to death, she pointed him to the police and disappeared. Meanwhile, Butcher fled to Brazil because the Hells Angels had set a bounty on him. German investigators tracked him to South America and persuaded him to give evidence. On November 1, 2000, 400 police officers moved to a major raid and arrested the new leadership of the association. In Germany, Sweden and Poland 17 suspects were arrested and more than 50 kilograms of narcotics were seized. The witnesses are now living under police protection because they fear for their lives.
Helmut “Miko” M., leading figure of the Karlsruhe Hells Angels, a 42-year-old brothel owner and notorious red-light figure in Karlsruhe, was shot dead in January 2004 in a coffee shop downtown in broad daylight. Previously, in December 2003, a bomb attack perpetrated on him failed due to an intermittent contact in the explosive device. Background of the crime were disputes over open money claims in the red-light district.
In March 2006, a group of Hells Angels raided a Bandidos clubhouse in Stuhr where they assaulted and robbed five Bandidos members. Three were given jail sentences and another eleven were handed down suspended sentences at the trial which took place in Hannover on December 16, 2008.
On May 27, 2007, five Hells Angels members attacked, robbed and injured one Bandidos member in Hohenschönhausen, Berlin. Nineteen police vehicles were in use and shots were made. A witness filmed the scene. All people involved including the Hells Angels, Bandidos and the witness were silent in court. Sources say there are two high ranking Hells Angels members involved in the conflict. One is the former President of the “Hells Angels of Berlin” and the other was a high ranking “Road Captain” who is now the “Treasurer” of the “Hells Angels of Berlin.”
On June 11, 2008, Heino B., 48 and Thomas K., 36, two Bandidos members were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the Hells Angels member Robert K. in Ibbenbüren. Reports say they drove to his Harley-Davidson shop and shot him there on May 23, 2007. After the first day of a related lawsuit on December 17, 2007, riots between the two gangs and the police were reported. Robert K. was 47-years old and “Road Captain” of the Bremen Hells Angels but lived in the area of Osnabrück, where their rivals Bandidos claim supremacy.
Also in June 2008, eight Hells Angels members of the “Hells Angels Westside” and one unidentified rocker, who is not a Hells Angels member, were arrested on the A27 near Walsrode. Five private apartments and the clubhouse “Angels Place” in Bremen were searched. Police reports say the LKA-Bremen seized firearms, baseball bats, knives and illegal drugs. Later on the day the BKA(Bundeskriminalamt) arrested another Hells Angels member. Police reports also say five Hells Angels members are on the run.
On July 17, 2008, 34 persons of a group of 50 were arrested in Oranienburg street in Berlin Mitte. Sources say the persons are supporters of the Hells Angels and bouncers and hooligans in theMecklenburg-Vorpommern scene. Other sources say the persons are members of the “Brigade 81″, a murderous group of the Hells Angels. One of the hooligans (now ex-hooligan and vice-president of the Potsdam Hells Angels) was a famous and dangerous fighter, who had beaten the French police officer Daniel Nivel into coma in 1998. Daniel Nivel was police officer of the Gendarmes during the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. Today, he is disabled, incapacitated and has difficulty in speaking and expressing himself. The police seized white masks, knuckle dusters, telescopic batons, quartz-sand-gloves and illegal drugs. Background of the incident was that a group of Bandidos appeared in the „Gold Club“ and wanted to play power games. It’s about the staking of areas and the protection of illegal sources of income, a police statement said.
Later in 2008, Bandidos members attacked a Hells Angels member in Berlin and shots were fired at an Hells Angels member in the city of Cottbus. In Kiel, it came to a mass brawl between members of the Hells Angels and alleged right-wing extremists. During the brutal conflict a Hells Angels member and tattooist from Neumünster was seriously injured with a knife.
On December 6, 2008, Rayk F., who is the front man of the Hells Angels “Nomads”, lined with scars and a living fighting machine, was brutally beaten in the nightclub „Omega“ in Eberswalde. The perpetrators were members of the Chicanos, a support group of the Bandidos motorcycle gang.
In February 2009, the Hells Angels published a statement about the mass brawl in Kiel. The statement said, the rocker club distances itself from contacts to the right-wing scene. “The Hells Angels MC was, is and remains a non-politically motivated club” and “new members have to leave the right-wing scene”, Frank Hanebuth, President and leading figure of the Hannover Hells Angels, said in the statement. The attempt to draw the club in the right-wing haze is a personal insult for every member, the Hells Angels indicate. “We have eight different nations in our club. One comes from Israel, one from Palestine, one even from Surinam. And we are xenophobic?”, he asked.
On June 5, 2009, the clubhouse of the Chicanos was completely destroyed from inside. Several members of the Chicanos suffered skull fractures and elbow fractures. The attackers belong to the notorious “Brigade 81″.
On July 17, 2009, a passer-by discovers a glittering silver object under a black BMW in Eberswalde. Reports say the object was a homemade bomb and the car belongs to Rene H., who is the President of the local Chicanos. Police reports say the greatest rocker gangs in the world wage a fierce battle for East Germany. The region serves as a strategically important springboard in prosperous countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, the Baltic states and Russia. Countries, where people disappear every day.
In August 2009, a leading member of the Berlin Bandidos was stabbed and shot to death in Hohenschönhausen, Berlin. A news channel claimed, the 33-year-old Michael B., who is a well known rocker in the district of Lichtenberg, Berlin, was the President of the chapters of the Berlin Bandidos MC and former member of the Hells Angels. Police reports say there is a continuing war over territorial claims between the Bandidos and the Hells Angels.
On the night of October 31 to November 1, 2009, it came to a confrontation between members of opposing groups. The clubhouse of the Bandidos in Duisburg was attacked and damaged from the outside, in Solingen shots were fired at the residence of some members of the Midland charter, a hand grenade was thrown against the building but did not explode and was later blown up by the police.
Also in October 2009, at the opening ceremony of a new Hells Angels pub in Potsdam, 70 police officers controlled 159 persons, 39 vehicles and arrested one member, who was a fugitive, of the Hells Angels group “Nomads.” The man was wanted for violation of the Arms Act. Two baseball bats and a banned one-handed knife was also found.
Since December 22, 2009, two members of the Hells Angels are standing trial in Kaiserslautern. They are accused, along with another Hells Angels member who is a fugitive, having murdered the 45-year-old President of the chapters of the Donnersberg Outlaws MC in June 2009.
Also in December 2009, a 38-year-old member of the Hells Angels was stabbed and critically injured in Erfurt. After an emergency surgery the victim was out of danger. The rocker was stabbed in the parking lot of a motorcycle business. Shortly after the attack, the police arrested four suspects in Weimar, including two members of the Jena Bandidos.
In January 2010, the President of the Flensburg Hells Angels was arrested. The 36-year-old, Stefan R., is accused of attempted homicide and hit-and-run driving. He has hit a Bandidos member with his car on the A7, reports say. The 24-year-old Bandidos member was heavily injured and is fighting for his life. On the same day, police raided the homes of two other Hells Angels members. Investigators searched for additional evidence in connection with the discovery of a weapons depot in a car repair shop in Flensburg. In November 2009, police had discovered explosives, five machine guns, ten shotguns and pump guns, revolvers and pistols and lots of ammunition.
Since January 10, 2010, six members of the Weimar Bandidos are standing trial in Erfurt. The 29 to 40-year-olds are accused of forming a criminal organization and attempted murder. Reports say the Bandidos are striving for supremacy in the bouncer, tattoo and red-light scene.
On February 19, 2010, a 41-year-old member of the Flensburg Hells Angels was attacked by supporters of the Bandidos and seriously injured with an iron bar. His car had to be towed away.
Since February 23, 2010, a 20-year-old female decoy of the Hells Angels is standing trial in Neumünster. She is accused having lured a Bandidos member in an ambush. The victim was killed with five shots.
Also in February 2010 in Potsdam, about 70 supporters of the Berlin chapter of the Bandidos MC, who usually are hostile to the Hells Angels, moved to the Berlin chapter of the Hells Angels. Police reports say the background of this step is unknown. Specialists say it could have something to do with a fight on June 21, 2009 in Finowfurt where one rocker was badly injured with an ax and suffered a split leg and the President of the “Brigade 81″, André S., was stabbed in the back. Other sources say it could have something to do with the immigrant background of the Berlin chapter of the Bandidos. German Bandidos probably have a problem with members of foreign origin. In general, the rockers are set nationally and felt like “real German men.” Therefore, members with Turkish roots are not welcome. A leading Hells Angels member confirmed the defection and said the new members will be part of the “Hells Angels of Turkey.” The President of the “Hells Angels of Germany” was also present.
On March 15, 2010, a 21-year-old supporter of the Bandidos was stabbed and badly injured in Kiel. In the same night, police raided meeting points of the Hells Angels. A few days earlier, shots were fired at the house of the local Hells Angels leader.
On March 17, 2010, a Bonn Hells Angels member shot dead a 42-year-old police officer of the SEK (Spezialeinsatzkommando) during a house search. The district court of Koblenz issued arrest warrant for murder. Reports also say there are investigations against seven persons, including two Hells Angels members, because of clashes in the red-light districts of Westerwald.
Also in March 2010, a report claims that the Hells Angels are now selling beer, hard alcohol, cigarettes and clothing using 190 retailers and the German supermarket chain “Real.” The brand is called “Original 81″ meaning “Original Hells Angels.” NDR-Online claims that the Hells Angels have successfully managed the way out of the shadow economy. After the report the supermarket chain “Real” claimed to be unaware and would take the brand off the shelves.
Since March 2010, a Hells Angels member is standing trial in Duisburg. The 31-year-old, Timur A., a ethnic Turk, is accused having murdered the 32-year-old Oberhausen Bandidos member and former hooligan “Ashley” in Hochfeld, Duisburg on October 8, 2009. The Bandidos member was shot dead in the red-light district of Duisburg. He was executed with a headshot. Police reports say the scene is very nervous because there are nine Hells Angels charters, four-teen Bandidos chapters, eight Gremium chapters and four Outlaws chapter in North Rhine-Westphalia. And the Hells Angels are expanding in Köln, Bielefeld and Siegen, where their rivals claim supremacy.
In April 2010, a member of the Flensburg Hells Angels, who is a witness in a double murder case, and a businessman are accused having extorted €380.000 of another businessman, who after adispute with his wife stabbed her and his 7-year-old daughter to death and set his house on fire in February 2009. Background of the crimes are economic difficulties.
In May 2010, the warring gangs declared an armistice, but investigators doubt whether hostilities will cease.
The Hells Angels control much of the drug trade in the Netherlands, and are also involved in prostitution. The Dutch police have stated that the Hells Angels smuggle cocaine into the country through terrorist organizations and drug cartels in Curaçao and Colombia, and also deal in ecstasy and illegal firearms.
In October 2005, the Dutch police raided Hells Angels’ clubhouses in Amsterdam, Haarlem, IJmuiden, Harlingen, Kampen and Rotterdam as well as a number of houses. Belgian police also raided two locations over the border. Police seized a grenade launcher, a flame thrower, hand grenades, 20 hand guns, a machine pistol and €70,000 (US$103 285) in cash. A number of Hells Angels members were later imprisoned on charges of international trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy, the production and distribution of marijuana, money laundering and murder, after an investigation that lasted over a year.
In 2006 two Dutch newspapers reported that the Amsterdam whorehouse Yab Yum had long been controlled by the Dutch Hells Angels, who had taken over after a campaign of threats and blackmailing. The city council of Amsterdam revoked the license of Yab Yum in December 2007. During a subsequent trial the city’s attorney repeated these allegations and the brothel’s attorney denied them. The brothel was closed in January 2008.
A gang war over drugs and turf between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos, known as the “Great Nordic Biker War“, raged from 1994 until 1997 and ran across Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even parts of Finland and Estonia. By the end of the war, machine guns, hand grenades, rocket launchers and car bombs had been used as weapons, resulting in 11 murders, 74 attempted murders, and 96 wounded members of the involved motorcycle clubs. This led to fierce response from law enforcement and legislators, primarily in Denmark. A law was passed that banned motorcycle clubs from owning or renting property for their club activities. The law has subsequently been repealed on constitutional grounds.
In 2007, a Hells Angels-associated gang named Altid Klar-81 (“Altid Klar” is Danish for “Always Ready” and 81 is synonymous with the letters HA) was formed in Denmark to combat immigrant street gangs in a feud over the lucrative illegal hash market. AK81 has been recruiting much quicker than the mainstream Hells Angels as members are not required to own a motorcycle or wear a patch, and racial tensions are running high in parts of Denmark. On August 14, 2008, Osman Nuri Dogan, a 19-year-old Turk, was shot and killed by an AK81 member in Tingbjerg. Later that year, on October 8, there was a shoot-out between AK81 members and a group of immigrants in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, during which one man was injured.
The Hells Angels also featured in the ITV documentary Police Camera Action! on the 1996 episode International Patrol where footage from the Rigspolitiet was shown of an individual carrying a knife, who was later arrested.
Spanish police carried out a number of raids against the club on April 21, 2009, arresting 22 members in Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga, Madrid and Las Palmas. Two of them were members of the club’s Italian chapters. The Hells Angels arrested were charged with drugs and weapons trafficking, and extortion. Law enforcement seized military-style weapons and ammunition, bulletproof vests, a kilo ofcocaine, neo-Nazi literature and €200,000 in cash during the searches of 30 properties. One suspect also attempted to use a firearm against police officers as he was being arrested. It was part of an investigation into the club, known as Valkiria, which began in October 2007 and also led to eight arrests in December 2007. Prior to this, the only operation against the club in Spain took place in March 1996.
On July 30, 2010, the European police agency Europol issued a warning on an increase of Hells Angels and Bandidos activities in Southeast Europe and Turkey. The newly founded Hells Angels Turkey denied the warning’s content, calling the relevant report “utter nonsense” and alleging Europol officials are after more European Union funds. On July 2, 2011, around 20 Hells Angels Turkey members in Kadıköy, Istanbul attacked people in a bar and injured 7 of them (2 severely) pleading that these people were drinking alcohol on the street and disturbing the neighbourhood. It had been earlier reported that Turkish defectors from Bandidos Germany chapter have joined the ranks of Hells Angels Turkey.
In August 2007 a Hells Angels member, Gerry Tobin, was shot dead on the M40 motorway by members of a rival motorcycle gang, the Outlaws. Those responsible received life sentences in November 2008. Tobin was returning home to London, where he worked as a Harley service manager, from the Bulldog Bash.
In January 2008, there was a brawl between up to 30 Hells Angels and Outlaws at Birmingham International Airport. Police recovered various weapons including Knuckledusters, hammers and a meat cleaver. Seven Outlaw members and five Hells Angels faced trial as a result.
One major event in Hells Angels’ history involved the December 6, 1969, Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway – partially documented in the 1970 film Gimme Shelter – featuringJefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and The Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform but canceled at the last minute owing to the ensuing circumstances at the venue. The Angels had been hired by The Rolling Stones as crowd security for a fee which was said to include $500 worth of beer. The Angels parked their motorcycles in front of the stage in order to create a buffer between the stage and the tens of thousands of concertgoers.
Crowd management proved to be difficult, resulting in both spectator injury and death. Over the course of the day, the Hells Angels became increasingly agitated as the crowd turned more aggressive. At a later murder trial of Hells Angel Alan Passaro, a security guard testified he heard the Hells Angels being summoned over the loudspeakers when the helicopter bearing The Rolling Stones landed. Debate after the event was over whether or not the Hells Angels were to manage security for the entire concert or just for The Rolling Stones. Sam Cutler, the Stones’ agent who had arranged to pay the Hells Angels said their role was as bodyguards to the Rolling Stones. This was denied by the Hells Angels as well as others connected to the event. During the opening act of Santana, the Hells Angels surged into the crowd numerous times to keep persons off stage.
By the time The Rolling Stones took stage, numerous incidents of violence had occurred both between the Hells Angels and internally within the crowd, not the least of which featured a circus performer weighing over 350 pounds stripping naked and running amok amid the concertgoers. Audience members attempted to detain him. Eventually, the irate man was subdued after Angels intervened with fists and makeshift weapons, while a crowd of 4,000–5,000 looked on from the edge of the stage.
The aggression did not subside there. After an Angel’s motorcycle was toppled, club members’ tempers continued to escalate, their ire spread wide between the audience and performers alike. At one point, Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious following an altercation with an Angel, an event later depicted in Gimme Shelter. The Grateful Dead refused to play following the Balin incident, and left the venue.
A shoving match erupted near the stage during a rendition of the song “Under My Thumb“. A man in the audience named Meredith Hunter produced a handgun. Hunter was stabbed to death. A Hells Angel member, Alan Passaro, was later acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defense. After the concert and critical media attention given to the HAMC, Sonny Barger went on a local California radio station to justify the actions of the Hells Angels and to present their side of the story. He claimed that violence only started once the crowd began vandalizing the Hells Angels’ motorcycles. Barger would later claim that Meredith fired a shot which struck a Hells Angels member with what he described as “just a flesh wound.”
In 2005, after a two year exhaustive cold-case renewal of the file, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office permanently closed the case. An enhanced and slowed down version of the original film footage was produced for the police, and after examining it Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Dudek said Passaro, who died in 1985, was the only person to stab Hunter and he did so only after Hunter pointed a handgun at the stage where the Stones were performing.
Alan Passaro is the only person who stabbed Meredith Hunter, Dudek said, adding that Passaro’s lawyer confirmed his client was the sole assailant. “Passaro acted with a knife to stop Meredith Hunter from shooting.”
In addition, enhanced and slowed-down footage from the film shows Hunter brandishing the handgun just before Passaro stabs him.
The River Run Riot occurred on April 27, 2002, at the Harrah’s Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, Nevada. Members of the Hells Angels and the Mongols motorcycle clubs fought each other on the casino floor. As a result, Mongol Anthony Barrera, 43, was stabbed to death, and two Hells Angels, Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50, were shot to death. On February 23, 2007 Hells Angels members James Hannigan and Rodney Cox were sentenced to two years in prison. Cox and Hannigan were captured on videotape confronting Mongols members inside the casino. A Hells Angel member can be clearly seen on the casino security videotape performing a front kick on a Mongol biker member, causing the ensuing melee.
However, prior to this altercation, several incidents of harassment and provocation were noted in the Clark County, Nevada Grand Jury hearings as having been perpetrated upon The Hells Angels. Members of the Mongols accosted a vendor’s table selling Hells Angels trademarked items, had surrounded a Hells Angel and demanded he remove club clothing. In addition, nine witnesses claimed the fight began when a Mongol kicked a member of the Hells Angels. Regardless of which minor physical incident can be said to have “caused the melee”, it is clear that The Hells Angels had come to confront the Mongols concerning their actions.
Attorneys for the Hells Angels claimed that the Hells Angels were defending themselves from an attack initiated by the Mongols.
Charges were dismissed against 36 other Hells Angels originally named in the indictment.
On January 28, 2007 a woman named Roberta Shalaby was found badly beaten on the sidewalk outside the Hells Angels’ clubhouse at 77 East Third Street in the East Village, Manhattan. The resulting investigation by the NYPD has been criticized by the group for its intensity. The police were refused access to the Hells Angels clubhouse and responded by closing off the area, setting up sniper positions, and sending in an armored personnel carrier. After obtaining a warrant, the police searched the clubhouse and arrested one Hells Angel who was later released. The group claims to have no connection with the beating of Shalaby. Five security cameras cover the entrance to the New York chapter’s East 3rd Street club house, but the NY HAMC maintains nobody knows how Shalaby was beaten nearly to death at their front door. A club lawyer said they intended to sue the city of New York for false arrest and possible civil rights violations.
On February 27, 1988 David Hartlaub was murdered in his van at a bank parking lot near the Musicland record store that he managed, as he was dropping off the nightly deposit. The deposit bag contained about $4000 in cash and was not taken. Three members of Hells Angels motorcycle gang; Steven Wayne Yee, Mark Verdi, and John Ray Bonds were carrying out a hit. Cleveland Hells Angels were planning to retaliate against a Sandusky Outlaw gang member for the Joliet, IL. shooting of an Hells Angels member the previous year, at which Bonds had been present. The Outlaw member drove a van almost identical to Hartlaub’s. The trio mistook Hartalub’s van for their enemies and shot and killed him by mistake. Both the gun and the van’s carpet were spattered with blood, allowing police to use DNA evidence, and discovered that John Ray Bonds was the shooter who had hid inside Hartlaub’s van and was waiting to kill him. He shot him with a MAC-11 9-mm semi-automatic pistol fitted with a homemade silencer. Bond’s DNA profile analyzed by the FBI matched the bloodstains found in Yee’s car and based on this they were able to use it as key evidence. This was one of the first cases of DNA being used for criminal conviction. The trial and legal wrangling lasted nearly two years and ended in long prison terms for all three Hells Angels members, who may remain in prison on sentences up to life.
In 2001 Hells Angels Rodney Lee Rollness (Former Hells Angel) and Joshua Binder murdered Michael “Santa” Walsh, who had allegedly falsely claimed to be a member of the Hells Angels. Paul Foster, hoping to join the Hells Angels, aided in the murder by luring Walsh to a party at his house and helping cover up the crime. West Coast leader Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel, along with Rollness and Binder, were also convicted of various racketeering offenses.