Monday, 18 June 2018

Post 229--Paradise: Banning Gangs!

Good morning on a fine sunny Saturday morning in Vancouver.  Yes, after an absence of a whole month, most of it in California with Kevin, our son and his family there.  From sunshine, through sunshine, back into Vancouver's sunshine.  Sunshine everywhere.  Plus--a heatwave almost everywhere along I-5, the route we took back with our RV. And believe me, as much as my wife, Fran, and I enjoyed the visit and the ride through all that beautiful West Coast country, there's no place like home.

Today our focus is on criminal motorcycle gangs in my birth country, the Netherlands. Originally, the article was published in Dutch in the Christian newspaper Trouw of June 18, 2018. The author is Dristel van Teffelen. I present you with this article because, though there are differences between Canada and NL, in this range of concerns the similarities are much the same.      Here, then the article. Read it carefully and give it some thought. I will try to make my own comments about it a couple of posts from now.  Have a good read.

Prohibiting Satudarah Means a New Success for the Ministry of Justice in Its Handling of Criminal Motorcyle Gangs
Dristel van Teeffelen
Trouw  June 18  2018

The motorclub Satudarah is no more. The Society was dissolved after the court in The Hague pronounced a prohibition this morning. For the Ministry of Justice this signals a new and important victory in its handling of criminal motorcycle gangs, even though not all problem are solved with this step.

That the judge should resort to a prohibition was not step to be taken for granted. The right of association is in the constitution and may be restricted only when there are weighty reasons. In the case of Satudarah, a motorclub that exists since 1990, the court recognized enough reasons.The list of criminal behaviours of its members is so long and the culture of the association so violent, that Satudara endangers the public order and is even capable of destabilizing society, the judge concluded.

The society uses violence against its own members who want to disassociate themselves, but also against other citizens. Even board members of other clubs get beat up after members of Satudarah demand that their club join Satudarah. It is striking that many victims do not dare to report this violence for fear of retaliation. Furthermore, the club resists the police actively and the board justifies injustice and even stimulates it. All in all, this is enough to conclude that this society is a genuine attack on the security of the society, according to the judge.

The Ministry opted for the avenue of civil rights to achieve a prohibition, just as it did before with another motorclub, the Bandidos. In 2009, an attempt to ban a branch of the Hells Angels ran stuck at the High Court. That judge concluded that the behavior of individual members cannot be attributed to the society.  The Ministry once again aimed its arrows at the Hells Angels, this time on the entire organization and via a civil rights procedure. 

It is questionable whether the prohibition strategy will work.  Satudarah itself argued with the judge that a ban would be useless, because the members could easily continue under a different name.  The judge acknowledged this fact. Nevertheless, a ban on Satudarah in any case means that everything associated with the society, like dress, name, logo and public expression, comes to an end.  In addition, the national LIEC, an organization that is dedicated to combat the undermining criminality, affirms that a firm approach on the part of the Government to criminal motor clubs has delivered fruit.  For example, the growth in members slowed down in 2017. 

Banning of the entire society is but one of the ways by which the Government can put the clamps on criminal motorclubs. For example, in 2017, members of the clubs were imprisoned for committing punishable acts in organized contexts. In addition, many local governments during that year closed eighteen club houses of societies that were preoccupied with criminality and violence more than with motorcycle touring.   That ban also holds for “chapters” and support clubs associated with them.  
Read also (if you can read Dutch!):

Public Ministry: “Time for a ban on Hells Angels in the Netherlands.”
For the oldest Dutch motorclub, the Hells Angels, there is no more place in the society, according to the Public Ministry. The Ministry of Justice has asked the judge for a ban. The club is allegedly a danger to the public order.

“Judge’s Ruling Paralyzes Motorclub Bandidos.”
There is no place left in The Netherlands for Bandidos. The society can no longer operate a bank account or rent a clubhouse, while all assets must be handed over. A Government appointee is to wind up the club’s finances.

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