A Rebels gang boss has apologised to the Coromandel community after the gang was at the centre of a brutal street fight over the weekend.
The North West chapter gang boss contacted CFM Coromandel radio station and issued an apology on air last night.
But National police spokesman Mark Mitchell said Coromandel locals remained scared and a businessperson was threatened by an “unsavoury” element during a public meeting held in the township last night.
The gang leader, who was not identified, said he was trying to take responsibility for what unfolded at the weekend.
“To the Coromandel community, on behalf of the Rebels North West community, I would like to address the events that happened on Sunday the 17th of September.
“First and foremost, I would like to formally apologise personally on behalf of the Rebels Northwest Chapter for our harmful behaviour.
“We understand and sympathise with the harm caused and as a local to Coromandel – I am deeply saddened by what our presence left.”
A video shared with the Herald shows at least a dozen gang members assaulting a group of three men outside the Coromandel Smoking Company, a fish shop on Tiki Rd.
Up to 10 men, some in Rebels patches, surround a young man, kicking and punching him as he lay on the ground.
Mitchell told Newstalk ZB’s Kerre Woodham that residents were “tired of the gang presence, tired of all the methamphetamine and tired of all of the social issues.”
”Unfortunately there was an unsavoury group that arrived and wanted to take a position in favour of the gangs and their rights.
”One of the local moteliers confronted the group and was told ‘to keep his mouth shut or we will do it for you’.
”It became tense and so the group was asked to leave.”
Mitchell was also sceptical whether the apology was genuine and queried the claim by Rebel gang members over who started the skirmish.
The president said the gang did not initiate the fight, and CCTV footage would prove that.
“The questions [police] need to ask is why are the victims not making written statements and who threw the first punch?
“But if you kick a beehive, you expect to get stung by all of them, not one,” the president said.
CFM Drive host Johnny Staiger asked the gang leader if he was saying that violence was then justified, which he denied.
“I don’t justify any of the violence. As a Coromandel local I am saddened.”
The gang boss claimed he did his best to stop the fight escalating.
“I tried to contain the situation. I tried to stop it from happening.
“It doesn’t justify the violence or anything, I’m trying to take responsibility for our part in it.”
The apology came as the local business association claimed members of the public had been attacked, business owners have been intimidated, and a number of thefts have been reported.
In a meeting organised by the National Party last night approximately 100 concerned Coromandel residents spoke of their concerns about the increase in gang violence in their corner of the country.
The president of the gang confirmed he was aware of local the meeting, but did not attend.
The president said the local chapter had never experienced this type of incident before in their own community.
“I did speak to all the lads before going down there to make sure they work on their public relations and smile and say, ‘hello and g’day’.
“Once again, I give my deepest apologies to everyone who has been affected or for anyone who felt intimidated by our presence.”
The gang boss promised only members of the chapter who actually lived in the Coromandel would be present in the community from now on.
“There will be no large rides as long as I’m president.
“I put a ban so only the local ones will be riding there.
“We’ve been in the area for 10 years since 2015, seven of us live here and we’re from there.”
He said the police would be contacting those who were involved in the fight.
The chapter was staying in an isolated home in Kennedy Bay, and they had been keeping to themselves and trying not to affect the community.
“We’ve gone pig hunting, we’ve made the pig on a spit, we’ve gone fishing and we weren’t wearing colours when all this was going on.
“The only time we wear patches is when we are riding motorcycles.”
Jaime Lyth is an Auckland-based reporter who covers crime. She joined the Herald in 2021 and has previously reported for The Northern Advocate.