State’s anti-bikie squad on notice as tensions rise between Hunter’s feuding gangs

TURF WAR: A drive-by shooting on a Wallsend unit in March. It comes as bikie tensions again appear to be rising in the Hunter following two assaults. THE Hunter’s bikie turf war has reignited as police investigate two brawls between rival gangs in the past week.

TheNewcastle Heraldhas learnt that Strike Force Raptor is watching closely after two violent assaults between members of the Finks, Nomads and Rebels outlaw motorcycle gangs since Friday.

The most recent occurred on Monday night when a 27-year-old man suffered multiple injuries after he was attacked by unknown men in his Singleton home about 8.30pm.

The attempted firebombing of the Nomads clubhouse in Muswellbrook earlier this year.

Police believe the man, who was not cooperating with detectives, may have been involved in a two-car crash on the New England Highway two hours before the assault.

It is believed three vehicles pulled up at a location before two of the cars suddenly collided. The men inside the vehicles were believed to be members of the Finks and Nomads. The 27-year-old remains in a stable condition in John Hunter Hospital.

Detectives are also investigating a brawl between the Finks and Rebels in the car park of the Hunter River Hotel in Maitland on Friday. Up to a dozen Finks were understood to have been involved.

A State Crime Command spokeswoman said Strike Force Raptor and Hunter-based detectives were investigating the Singleton assault and other disputes between outlaw motorcycle gangs across the region.

Police are keen to avoid a re-escalationof tensions.

Earlier this yeardrive-by shootings and wild street brawls in suburban Hunter streets prompted police to form Strike Force Batterson, a team made up of local investigators who trained their sights specifically on the simmering feud.The dispute emerged after the Finks moved into the Hunter and attempted to gain a foothold in areas traditionally held by other patches. Members of one bikie gang began to “patch over” asFinks membership continued to grow.Tensions reached boiling point on March 28 when the clubhouse of the Hunter Valley chapter of the Nomads at Muswellbrook was the target of a poorly executed firebombing.

Earlier that month, there were a series of reprisal drive-by shootings.

More than 30 shots were fired into the home of a local Nomads enforcer at Wallsend, while the Metford home of an ex-Nomad who defected to the Finks was also sprayed with bullets.

Heavily armed police raided the Nomads clubhouse in April and shut it down.

The Sydney Morning Heraldreported last month that Finks bikie Jesse Johnston,the 22-year-oldsergeant-at-arms of the gang’s Newcastle chapter, was deported to his native New Zealand.

n Border Force officials allegedly found clothing sporting the gang’s distinct “rat Fink” emblem after he got off a plane at Sydney Airport.

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