Gang may kill, residents fear

By Kristin Edge


Tension has descended on Moerewa this week as locals fear an innocent person will be killed or maimed, with in-fighting between members of the Rebels and gang-related violence coming to a head.

Residents are planning a public meeting for Thursday night after a Northland man was admitted to hospital with serious wounds, following a stabbing in the town.

Four Rebels Motorcycle Gang members appeared in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday on a charge of unlawful possession of ammunition.

A 25-year-old man remained in Whangarei Hospital in a serious condition after apparently being stabbed in the head on Friday night.

The Rebel gang members aged 30, 43, 45 and 46, could face more serious charges.The 43-year-old was remanded in custody to appear again on February 12, when he will be joined by the three others, who were granted bail.

Police were unable to say if the injured man was from the same or a rival gang, as they were still piecing together the events.

Gunshots were also fired on Friday about 10.30pm in Moerewa, leading police to search homes and vehicles. Police in Whangarei were alerted and watched addresses linked to gangs.

The previous Sunday, three cars in Moerewa were set on fire in what police said was a gang-related incident.

Some locals contacted by the Northern Advocate said they were too fearful to be named.

''It's a bit scary, seeing the bikes riding around the streets,'' said one woman.

''They should go back to Australia and take all their badness with them.

''We just hope that someone doesn't get hurt that has nothing to do with the gangs.

''It's a worry that some innocent person will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Another resident said he believed the shots and stabbing were retaliation for the burning of cars the previous weekend.

The police acting district manager, criminal investigations, Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Burke, said the arrest of the four men had disrupted gang activities.

Mr Burke said that the police and the Moerewa community would not tolerate criminal activity from the gangs and there would be a continued police presence in the town.

The gang tried to set up in Whangarei with a grand opening, including a bouncy castle at a pad in the industrial area of Whangarei, in April 2011.

However, constant pressure from the police and the public forced them to leave the leased building in Porowini Ave.

The largest outlaw motorcycle gang in Australia, the Rebels began taking over the Tribesmen gang during a rebranding process, which is known as "patching over", in January 2011.

If you have information on the gangs, contact your local police or anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Northern Advocate

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