The Bandidos motorcycle club has suffered a major blow in its attempts to start a New Zealand chapter, with the paroled killer behind the move recalled to prison for associating with gangsters.
The Sunday Star-Times revealed last month that former Highway 61 member Kelly Raymond Robertson was trying to establish the Bandidos, an American motorcycle club with a large presence in Australia, in South Auckland.
After the article the gang announced on its website that a "probationary chapter" was being formed in Auckland, and probationary president, "Bad News Brown" – believed to be Robertson – posted "we are very proud to be part of the Bandidos nation".
But attempts to start the club here, by "patching over" Highway 61 gang members, hit a stumbling block after Robertson was taken into custody on June 29 on an interim recall order.
He is on parole until February, 2014 for the 2003 manslaughter of of Highway 61 national president Kevin Weavers at the club's headquarters in Manurewa. Robertson stabbed Weavers in the thigh in what the Crown said was a retribution attack, but which Robertson claimed was self defence.
Robertson had been turned down for parole a number of times. He was considered too dangerous to release, but was freed in October 2010 after doing a rehabilitation programme.
His parole conditions included abstaining from drugs and alcohol for six months and not communicating or associating with specified people. Robertson returned to his car yard in Takanini, South Auckland, from where he began recruiting for the Bandidos.
A Parole Board spokesperson said for a prisoner to be recalled, "all we need is a declaration from probation or the police that he poses an undue risk, then a judge signs the interim recall, and the offender is returned to prison".
A full hearing then determines if the prisoner should be recalled.
The Bandidos are notorious in Australia for warring with the Comancheros. The two gangs were involved in the infamous "Milperra Massacre" in Sydney in 1984, which left seven dead.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand moves have created waves in Australia, with reports almost 60 Highway 61 members had patched over to the Bandidos on the Gold Coast. Police said the move made the Bandidos more powerful and signalled a major shift in the criminal underworld.
- © Fairfax NZ News