ACT News

Emergence of Canberra Comanchero chapter linked to southside shooting

Tensions between Rebels bikies and a newly established Canberra Comanchero chapter are reaching boiling point as police probe links between the feud and a southside shooting.

Police fear Rebels bikies peppered the home and car of a rival gang member with bullets as a spate of shootings gripped Canberra's suburbs this month.

The capital's status as a one-club town dramatically altered with the emergence of the Comanchero last year.

It is understood the fledgling chapter was established by former Rebels who left the club before patching over.

Patching over – or switching gangs – is seen as a treacherous act punishable by retribution by former associates seeking payback.

There have been members of other outlaw motorcycle gangs in Canberra for years, but never a blatant incursion by a rival group setting up a chapter in the traditional Rebels stronghold.


But ACT Policing said it had no concerns of tit-for-tat attacks escalating into a bikie war across Canberra's suburbs.

At about five members, the sole Comanchero chapter is dwarfed by the long established Rebels with five chapters and an estimated 60 members.

The authorities said it had been aware of the newcomers and its intentions to recruit new members in the territory.

"Intelligence on OMCG activity in other jurisdictions shows there is a dynamic within these criminal organisations in which perceived weaknesses are exploited by rival gangs," a police spokesman said.

But the police said it had no concerns other gangs would seek to establish footholds in the ACT as interstate anti-bikie laws continue to bite.

"Taskforce Nemesis will draw on ... resources as necessary to ensure that there is not a shift of OMCG activities to the ACT from other states and territories."

It is understood members of Canberra's rival clubs have previously clashed, mostly in Civic, but no arrests have been made and no formal complaints received by police.

The recent shooting would represent an escalation of the violence between the gangs.

Police believe only one of the recent five southside shootings are bikie linked.

It is understood an alleged Comanchero member was the target.

"The other four [shootings] do not appear to be OMCG-related however we are open-minded to the possibility should evidence come to light," a police spokesman said.

If the link is established it would be the second time tensions between outlaw gangs has publicly erupted in Canberra in recent months.

Three Rebels bikies are currently before the courts accused bashing of two Finks members outside Belconnen mall in October.

Fakatounaulupe Ngata, 35, Dean Stephen Reid, 26, of Holt, and Kirk Jacques Newman, 27, have pleaded not guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to charges of participating in criminal group and aggravated robbery.

It is alleged the trio stalked the shopping centre and confronted two men in motorcycle clothing at an entrance about 6pm on October 4.

The Rebels members are accused of assaulting the two men before stripping them of clothing emblazoned with the word FINKS.

Ngata – who police say is the Rebels ACT sergeant-at-arms – was on Friday locked up on remand for breaching bail conditions.

Ngata's bail includes a condition that he not leave his Queanbeyan home unless in the company of his partner.

Court documents said Ngata was arrested about 4.40pm on Thursday after attending a meeting at the Rebels Mitchell clubhouse.

The court heard his partner had been at work when he received an urgent call to attend an emergency club meeting.

Ngata's lawyer, Adrian McKenna, on Friday said his client had been "extremely naive" to think the call – which he said had not been an emergency – justified breaching his bail.

Mr McKenna asked the court to give Ngata one last chance.

But magistrate Robert Cook refused Ngata bail, saying he could not be satisfied the accused would abide by conditions if released.

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