The immigration department in Australia has cancelled the visas of many outlawed motorcycle gang members. This is part of Australia’s crackdown on motorcycle gangs linked to organised crime in the country.
The biker gangs are blamed for drug dealing, extortion, money laundering, supplying firearms and explosives. Their turf wars often cause brazen violence, reports AFP.
According to officials, the visas of more than 80 foreign nationals have been cancelled so far, after cracking down on drug-dealing, extortion and gun-smuggling,
It was led by various government departments, including Border Force, Immigration, and the Tax Office. They worked in liason with police and the Australian Crime Commission’s intelligence unit.
“Our government is very happy to declare war on outlaw motorcycle gang members,” said Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan described the biker gangs as the “public face of organised crime in Australia.”
“We know they are heavily involved in the drug trade, they continue to exert significant influence over Australia’s other black markets,” he said.
Dutton revealed that 27 people have been expelled from the country since June 2015. The rest are in prison or immigration detention centres. So far, the Coalition government has deported nearly 500 people after the law enforcement agencies found them seeking to “do harm to Australians.”
The gangsters mostly belong to countries such as New Zealand, Britain, Bosnia, Albania, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
Dutton said the biker gangs had been “causing misery and pain to thousands of Australians” and the government is “determined to work to make sure that we can cancel visas of people who are non-citizens who are committing crimes in our country.”
Official estimates say there are 38 active biker gangs with 4,500 members and many thousands working as associates who include lawyers and accountants. Prominent gangs include Comancheros, the Rebels, Hells Angels and the Mongols.
Recent amendments to the law further halved the threshold for visa cancellation to 12-months of prison sentence, reports The Guardian.
The changes to Section 501 of the Migration Act allow the state to cancel the visa of a person if the Immigration minister is not satisfied with a person’s “character test.”