Two years ago, Mongrel Mob member Joe Edmonds was deported from Australia to New Zealand. Now the muscular Edmonds is called Josef Armani Heart and wears designer clothes, eats at fancy restaurants and lives in a palatial home in Thailand with water views. His ostenstatious lifestyle is proudly on display on social media, as an example of a generational culture shift in the gang world dubbed the "Nike Bikie".
A Mongrel Mob gangster once deported from Australia is now living a life of luxury in Thailand.
Josef Armani Heart, who was once known as Joe Edmonds, regularly posts Instagram photographs and videos of himself with his young family and friends.
A palatial hilltop villa with sea views and infinity pool is described as "our new home" in Thailand, with numerous images of the muscular and tattooed Heart - who has a distinctive Mongrel Mob Waikato insignia inked on his back - working out at the gym or at the beach.
Wearing designer labels and Rolex watches, Heart posts himself enjoying meals at fine restaurants, boat trips with his friends and young family, holidays to Greece and France, as well as driving expensive cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
His ostentatious lifestyle displayed publicly on social media is an example of the generational change in gang culture, a new breed of gangster dubbed the "Nike Bikie" in Australia.
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Where the first generation of gang members were often unkempt and wore scruffy leather, the modern gangster is cleancut and more likely to wear Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
"They wear lots of jewellery, heavily tattooed, gym bunnies, with attractive girlfriends hanging off their arms," Deb Wallace, a former detective superintendent in Sydney previously told the Herald on Sunday.
"It looks like a very glamorous lifestyle."
The recently retired Wallace was in charge of Strike Force Raptor, a specialist police squad that targeted gangs in New South Wales after a horrific brawl in the Sydney airport in 2009.
Strike Force Raptor devised new tactics to disrupt gangs such as using council rules to shut down clubhouses for breaching building consents, or taking drivers' licences if they failed to pay traffic fines.
Wallace said the proactive measures were designed to create a "hostile environment" for gang members; critics called the strategy police harassment.
The unofficial sharing of ideas soon evolved into a formal council - Morpheus National Taskforce - with officials from different police forces and government agencies.
One of those "opportunities" mentioned by Wallace, who sat on Morpheus, was the ability of the Australian Border Force to cancel anyone's visa, or have someone deported.
It's a tough measure based on the "character grounds" test of Australia's immigration laws, section 501 to be exact.
It gave Strike Force Raptor another "hostile" tool and over the past five years dozens of senior members of Australian gangs, such as the Comancheros and Mongols, have been deported to New Zealand as '501s'.
Their arrival has radically changed the criminal underworld in New Zealand, as police allege they have established links with transnational organised crime and sophisticated counter-surveillance techniques to thwart investigations.
The emergence of the new Australian gangs comes as a time of unprecedented growth in gang members in New Zealand, which now number more than 7000 for the first time.
That's an increase of 50 per cent between December 2016 and December 2019.
Tension between the gangs has also ratcheted up, as the likes of the Comancheros and Mongols have muscled into rival territory and strategically "patched over" senior members of other gangs.
The introduction of the "501s" has also brought the distinctive "Nike Bikie" look to New Zealand, like Josef Heart.
Heart was deported from Western Australia in 2018 where the Mongrel Mob was trying to establish a chapter.
He is close friends with Sonny Fatu Junior, the nephew of Sonny Fatu who is president of the Mongrel Mob in Waikato.
The Waikato chapter has captured headlines in the past two years for establishing an all-female chapter, guarding their local mosque after the terror attacks in Christchurch, and hosting community events.
a Mongrel Mob member for 33 years, says his chapter walked away from the gang's national council two years ago to forge a new kaupapa of empowerment for those marginalised in society.
He was also one of the first New Zealand gang leaders to warn of the threat posed by the incoming Australian motorcycle gangs, which Fatu described as a "modern-day land grab".
However, in a vivid illustration of the rapidly evolving gang scene in New Zealand, Fatu's own brother Dwight Fatu and namesake nephew Sonny Fatu Junior defected from the Mongrel Mob to join the Comancheros.
Fatu has not commented on the patching over, or whether there is a split in his chapter, although the police believe the two rival gangs are "closely aligned".
To muddy the waters further, Heart has regularly posted holiday photographs with Sonny Fatu Junior.
One explanation could be a subtle shift in gang hierarchy from traditional "chapter-and-pad" to a more modern "brand loyalty", according to a police intelligence report released under the Official Information Act.
One of the drivers of the "uncontrolled growth" to more than 7000 gang members, was the change in gang structures to "cells" rather than the traditional hierarchy, which means not every gang leader is aware of what other members are up to.
"It is likely that the older, chapter-and-pad based model is being gradually superseded by shared allegiance to the 'brand' or 'franchise'," the 2019 intelligence report says.
"Under this system members tend to operate more independently."
A Weekend Herald investigation in April published new police data on gangs, broken down by region, as well as some of the reasons behind the spike in numbers and the changing face of the underworld.