Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has recruited a retired brigadier to oversee his government's crackdown on criminal bikie gangs in the state. Media reports say that the retired brigadier Bill Mellor, a former infantry platoon commander and army helicopter pilot, who is known for taking on violent warlords in Somalia in the 1990s, will now head the Queensland government crack team against the notrious bikie gangs.
Premier Newman, who had served under Mr Mellor during his 12-year army career, has now appointed him as chief of his government's anti-bikie Strategic Monitoring Team. Mellor's team is tasked with managing the various operations of the police and security agencies involved in protecting government buildings and staff under threat from the criminal bikie gangs.
Speaking to the Courier-Mail, Mr Mellor said he agreed to the job, as he believed the state was facing a serious bikie gang problem. The recent Gold Coast brawl involving dozens of bikies was proof of that, he said.
"I was obviously concerned. It required a whole-of-government response and my job is to help co-ordinate just that. I think it's going pretty well," Mr Mellor told the paper.
Meanwhile, Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer is not happy on Mr Newman's move. He has accused Mr Newman's recent appointment of Mr Mellor as the government's attempt to "set up Gestapo in Queensland".
"He wants the army to take control of the civilian population's lives," Mr Palmer is reported to have told AAP.
"He thinks he wants to run the state like it's an army. That's all he knows, so everyone stands to attention when he asks them to," Mr Palmer said.
In Nov 2013, Queensland Parliament passed its second set of tough legislations in order to tackle the criminal bikie gangs in the state. The laws ban gang members from working in an expanded list of industries and barred them from obtaining licences for liquor, security, tow trucks, construction, pawn broking, motor dealing and book-keeping businesses. It also made the bail rules tougher for bikie gang members, even after they claimed to have quit their gangs.
Since the first round of anti-bikie gang laws were passed in Oct 2013, reports say, 302 criminal bikie gang participants and associates have been charged under more than 630 offences.
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