Australia’s organized crime has melded with religious extremists to produce a unique threat for security experts: Islamic radical biker gangs.
Authorities in New South Wales are seeing a strange nexus between radicals who are desperate for cash and biker gangs with connections to organized crime that can help them achieve their goals.
“You can have a person who says I’m in it [a gang], I’m selling drugs, because Australia’s a bad place, and we need to raise money to take over,” New South Wales Assistant Police Commissioner Clive Small told Reuters on Thursday. “So you’ve got this rationale which justifies almost anything you want.”
Mark “Ferret” Moroney, a biker who converted to Islam while serving time in prison, told Reuters that immigration from the Middle East is affecting the evolution of Australia’s gangs.
“It changed the clubs’ style a little bit. In the Mongol Nation you must have a motorcycle to be a member or to hang around. Some other clubs are a bit lax with that rule,” Mr. Moroney said. He became a member of Mongol Nation in 2013 and said he does not take part in criminal activity.
New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas, an immigrant from Egypt, told Reuters about a 2005 case that could be a harbinger of things to come.
Commissioner Kaldas said that nine years ago, a corrupt army major sold rockets to a biker gang. The gang then sold those rockets to a Lebanese organized crime group, which in turn sold them to Islamic radicals. Luckily, police were able to stop a plot to attack a New South Wales power plant before it happened.
“For me, that was a classic example of the profit-driven criminality and the religiously or jihadi-motivated sort of violence working together,” Commissioner Kaldas said, Reuters reported.