Police are battling to stop Australia's largest outlaw motorcycle gang from setting up a New Zealand chapter.
Members of the Rebel Motorcycle Club are actively trying to set up a chapter in the country, Detective Superintendent Brett Kane of the Organised and Financial Crime Agency said.
"For several months we have been aware of their attempts to set up a chapter in New Zealand.
"Rebel gang members have been sighted in a number of localities throughout the North Island recently and been the focus of police attention already."
The gang was involved in serious violence, drug manufacture and trafficking in Australia, he said.
This afternoon Police Minister Judith Collins said police would be on guard.
"A very clear message needs to be sent to crime gangs from Australia and elsewhere that they are not welcome in New Zealand," Ms Collins said.
"Efforts by these gangs to set up shop and begin their criminal activities in New Zealand will meet with a very firm response from police and Ofcanz (the Organised and Financial Crime Agency) who will work with other government agencies.
She said the Government had taken a hard line against gangs and gave police new powers to intercept gang communications, dismantle gang fortresses and seize property from criminals.
Last Wednesday, police dealt with more than a dozen patched Rebels members near Auckland Airport and sent one member, who was trying to get into New Zealand, back to Australia.
"They will continue to be the focus of concentrated law enforcement attention as we intend to disrupt their plans to establish this gang here," Mr Kane said.
"We don't intend to put a welcome mat out for these people."
- © Fairfax NZ News