Ex-cop: ‘Put the foot back on the throat of the bikies’

THE ex-cop who waged war against Gold Coast outlaw motorcycle gangs says police must "put the foot back on the throat of the bikies" following the execution-style death of Shane Bowden.

Jim Keogh, the former head of the bikie-busting Rapid Action Patrol squad, said the "assassination"-style death of the Fink gangland heavy - almost a year on from the death of ex-bikie Shane Ross and friend Cameron Martin at Tallebudgeras - indicated control had been lost on Gold Coast streets.

He predicted the investigation would be protracted as the bikies went to ground, enacting their code of silence, and said now was the time for high-visibility policing and regular check-ins with bikies.

Mr Keogh said aside from the investigation police needed to "put the foot back on the throat of the bikies all around".

 

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A Gold Coast Bulletin front page at the height of the bikie war in late 2013
A Gold Coast Bulletin front page at the height of the bikie war in late 2013

 

Another Gold Coast Bulletin front page at the height of the bikie war in late 2013
Another Gold Coast Bulletin front page at the height of the bikie war in late 2013

"You need to establish, or re-establish control of the Gold Coast," he said.

Bowden was gunned down in an execution-style killing as he returned home to a Pimpama unit about 12.10am Monday.

Police believe at least two hooded shooters waited at a car park nearby before ambushing Bowden and shooting him a "significant" amount of times to the head and chest at point-blank range.

The shooters remained on the run on Wednesday.

Bowden had recently returned to the Finks bikie gang after being kicked out of the Mongols.

He had only just arrived from Victoria weeks before his death.

Mr Keogh was critical of RAP officers being tasked to COVID-19 border patrols.

"From a police perspective you've got to maintain a strong presence and win each battle to control the war," he said.

Retired Superintendent Jim Keogh during his last day on the Gold Coast as boss of the RAP. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Retired Superintendent Jim Keogh during his last day on the Gold Coast as boss of the RAP. Picture: Glenn Hampson

"It will never go away. There is too much market value, too much greed, too much pride for it to disappear completely.

 

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"But the key important issue is your police squad must be totally dedicated to fighting this war seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, and not reallocated to subsidiary tasks like border protection."

The retired superintendent said bikies had become "perhaps more covert" and far "more violent".

"We had a host of issues. We had the Broachbeach brawl. We had the incident at Robina, we had a number of issues but none of such brutality," he said.

He dismissed the suggestion of an all-out bikie war but added history showed an assassination of a bikie does not go unchecked.

Slain bikie Shane Bowden. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Slain bikie Shane Bowden. Picture: Tertius Pickard

"Shootings such as this, and the number of shots (fired) are a great concern to the community," he said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan on Wednesday talked up the Labor government's anti-bikie laws calling them the strongest in the country.

He said more than 60 detectives were working to solve the murder, which according to police, appeared to have been over an internal dispute.

Originally published as Ex-cop: 'Put the foot back on the throat of the bikies'


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