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(12/30/2012) The Sydney Morning Herald has run an investigative article by Michael Bachelard examining how Australian motorcycle gangs are establishing business links in Bali.
Visiting the Heavy Duty Bar on Jalan Patih Jelantik, Bachelard cites the bar in a warning, sounded by Australian police, that Australian “bikie gangs” are establishing a business presence in Bali.
The article lists an Australian outlaw motorcycle gang member from Perth as part owner of the Bar - a man whose name card carries the moniker of Adam “Vigilante” Abbott. The article also carries a picture of a tattooed Abbot posing with an R5 Automatic rifle, although it is not clear when or where the picture was taken.
Bachelard claims Abbott is “a patched member of Australia's biggest 'one per cent’ gang, the 'Rebels,' which is the target of a new Australian police crackdown called 'Taskforce Attero'.”
The “one percenter” label purportedly stems from its members' desire to decisively set themselves apart from “99% of bikers” who are judged to be law-abiding citizens.
The Sydney Morning Herald report says Abbott purchased the bar from a fellow West Australian bikie, Howard “Howie” Wignall,” who is a member of the notorious “Coffin Cheaters” gang.
The article also sttes that both Wignall and Abbott “have a penchant for guns and have served time in jail.”
Whatever links Wignall and Abbott enjoy with the “Coffin Cheaters” and “The Rebels,” Bachelard says signs of incursions by other bikie gangs into Bali are not difficult to uncover. Among other gangs thought to be active or seeking to set up house in Bali are the Bandidos, The Finks” and “Rack Machine.”
35-year-old Abbot, also known as Adam Schamotta, is a convicted felon once sentenced to a two-year and nine-month prison term for bank fraud and theft. Listed in Australia court records as a man with a "passion for expensive firearms," he was once banned for five years from permission to hold gun licenses in Australia.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald article, Wignall also has a long criminal record with 55 convictions that include drug possession and supply, and a 13-month sentence for trying to bribe a police officer in a narcotics case. In proceedings before the Australian Federal Court in 2009 Wignall was described by disgraced Australian businessman Tim Johnston as “a stand over man” who had intimidated and coerced him into paying $11 million dollars to a creditor.
While Australian Police would not go on record with the Sydney Morning Herald, lacking “hard evidence” of criminal wrongdoing by the gangs, the article does go on to says “gangs are believed to be exploring criminal opportunities in Indonesia including money laundering, the drug trade and smuggling.”
The Australian Federal Police reportedly sponsored a meeting in early 2012 in Bali under the title "Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Forum" to share views with their Indonesian law enforcement counterparts on the threat posed by the advent of motorcycle gangs in Bali and the rest of Indonesia.
Meanwhile, a ranking Kuta police officer, I Gede Putu Dedy Ujiana, dismisses any threat, saying, "We haven't really noticed any criminal activities."
That the bikie gangs are on the rise in Bali, however, is undeniable. The Bandidos held a “Bali Bike Week” in 2010 attended by hundreds of gang members who participated in outdoor music festivals replete with “bands, DJs, dancing girls and drinking by hundreds of leather-clad men.”
An Indonesian member of the organizing committee for the week-long festival and a member of Bandidos MC, Hari Wiguna, was taped on a video claiming 600 participants from Europe, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia raised funds for local orphanages, cleaned beaches and planted trees during their stay.
The Sydney Morning Herald says both Adam Abbott and Howard Wignall failed to respond to requests for comments on the article.
Bachelard goes on to describe the growing network of local and international gangs and gangsters in Bali nightlife.
The article concludes by quoting an unnamed source who warns: “"Soon enough the Coffin Cheaters and Bandidos will clash on Kuta Legian over access to market and territory. The local police are completely unprepared. They have no idea where this could go, and they don't want to admit they have a potential problem."
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[Sydney Morning Herald: Australian gangs are setting up shop and recruiting in Bali, writes Michael Bachelard]