Australia - TENSIONS between the rival bikie gangs have escalated with the largest mass outlaw defection in the Gold Coast's history.
Almost 60 members of Kiwi gang Highway 61, based in the northern corridor, have patched over to the Bandidos MC, the Bulletin has been told. The membership boost gives the Bandidos a huge advantage against arch-rivals the Hells Angels.
The Bulletin has also learned that at least 10 members of the Nomads outlaw gang are expected to patch over to rival clubs but senior Gold Coast members are resisting the move. Club members are negotiating with local leaders of both the Finks and the Rebels.
The potential increase in membership and power has stunned police who said it was a "disturbing development" which would see a major shift in the Gold Coast underworld.
The Nomad defection is believed to be part of a national shift, with at least two Sydney Nomad chapters patching over to the Rebels as the under-siege club is battered by a bitter feud with the Hells Angels.
Police said it could be the end for the smaller outlaw clubs and the emergence of "superclubs" including the Finks, the Bandidos, the Rebels and the Hells Angels.
Gang sources confirmed that gang members "around the country" have approached the Finks for membership -- including on the Gold Coast -- but refused to reveal how many had been accepted.
At least one member of the Black Uhlans has already patched over to the Gold Coast chapter.
The defections come as the outlaw clubs jockey for position and power as authorities move to declare them criminal organisations.
"You will see more of this," a source said.
"This is just the start. Effectively, this is the end of the Nomads, certainly on the Gold Coast.
"Highway 61 never really grew in membership and it is smart for them to join one of the larger clubs.
"Other vulnerable clubs are also looking at similar moves."
The massive shift could be the most significant underworld event since the Comanchero split of 1982, which led to the Milperra massacre two years later when seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, were shot dead.
"We've had small numbers move around before but this number is unheard of," senior police said.
"This has been brewing for some time but a lot has happened in the last 48 hours."
Leaving one club often leads to outbreaks of violence, police said.
The defections indicate the remarkable morphing of Australia's outlaw clubs into superclubs which were pinpointed as major threats by police in a 2010 report.
"The major clubs are growing quickly and it is only a matter of time before they take over the smaller clubs," police warned.
"Attempts have already been made in the past and I believe it will happen again and more often."
The Nomads were listed as prime targets for a takeover.
"The Nomads for example are dysfunctional and lack real leadership. Some have already seen the light and swapped colours and others may follow in the near future.
"If this occurs, it may create a number of superclubs and from that there are increased opportunities for alliances to be formed."
Some alliances have already emerged on the Gold Coast with the Lone Wolf and Finks combining to open a tattoo shop at Robina.
"These alliances will only continue to get stronger," police said.
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