Freed only two weeks ago (due to various judicial lapses click here) – a number of the 37 members of bikers group Hell’s Angels – detained in a country wide swoop on alleged organised crime two summers ago – are already violating their bail terms, reports Diário de Noticias.
The violations include ‘contacting each other’, frequenting clubs that they have been told not to enter and returning to jobs as security guards – absolutely prohibited for anyone with a criminal record.
Says the paper: authorities are well aware that measures imposed by the Public Ministry are being flouted but “have no way of ensuring otherwise”.
A source described as ‘involved in the monitoring of violent gangs’ agreed the situation “could represent, more than anything, a new risk”.
But PJ police who led the investigation that sees 89 Hells Angels of several nationalities cited (click here) “can no longer run surveillance operations” as the case is now in the hands of judge Conceição Moreno, of Lisbon’s TCIC (central court of criminal instruction).
Indeed, the ‘instruction phase’ opened today (Wednesday), with two members of the group due to give their testimonies.
Says DN, this ‘instruction phase’ (whereby the judge reviews all the evidence and decides who goes forwards for trial) will go on for weeks, and is believed to be the moment the bikers involved will finally ‘talk’.
Charges facing the men include criminal association, attempted murder, qualified GBH, qualified extortion, qualified damage with violence, drug trafficking, possession of illegal weapons and the consumption of narcotics.
Right now, only three of those rounded up as a result of the investigation remain in preventive custody – and this is because they were arrested later than the others.
DN’s exposé on the situation adds that since the PJ crackdown in Portugal, authorities throughout Europe have started honing in on the illegal activities of the Hell’s Angels organisation.
A judge in Utrecht banned Hell’s Angels from Holland in May, dubbing the organisation “a danger to public order”, and British police ran their own swoop on club members celebrating the organisation’s 50th anniversary, arresting 34 and accusing 12 of ‘particularly violent crimes’.
DN recalls that Portugal’s efforts in bringing this organisation to heel led to effusive praise from Europol’s executive director Catherine de Bolle who arrived in this country a few days after the 2018 purge. (click here)