Australia’s famed Gold Coast attracts the heavily-tattooed types and gym lovers, the picturesque surroundings and expensive lifestyle providing the ideal backdrop for a prominent Instagram page and following.
But beneath the sand and surf is a seedy underworld.
This week’s pre-planned assassination of senior Finks bikie Shane Bowden, 48, in his black BMW was a timely reminder of just how ruthless that underworld can be.
While there has been talk that his death could spark a war between the Finks OMCG and the rival Mongols OMCG, a longtime anti-bikie policeman believes thins will not reach out of control levels.
But Jim Keogh, the former head of Queensland’s Rapid Action Patrol (RAP) squad, is adamant police must do more to stamp out the gangs – before they run riot again on the infamous Glitter Strip.
The murder of Finks bikie Shane Bowden (pictured) in Pimpama about 12am on Monday has brought the seedy underworld of the Gold Coast back to the fore
Retired former anti-bikie police officer Jim Keogh (pictured) does not believe there will be all out retaliation for Bowden’s death
‘Shootings such as this, and the number of shots (fired) are of great concern to the community,’ Mr Keogh told The Courier Mail this week.
‘We had the Broadbeach brawl. We had the incident at Robina, we had a number of issues but none of such brutality.
‘From a police perspective you’ve got to maintain a strong presence and win each battle to control the war.’
Indeed Queensland Police are heeding Mr Keogh’s advice more than ever before.
Just this week Tayne Clarkson, the president of the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks, was jailed on drug supply charges.
The 21-year-old had fled to New South Wales in July from Queensland, where he was wanted over an alleged violent home invasion.
Clarkson pleaded guilty to drug supply charges and was this week sentenced for a minimum of four months.
While he will return to Queensland in November, his inability to be on the ground in the next few months means should anything kick off, club control will be transferred to another senior member.
With Clarkson unavailable on the Gold Coast, former Finks president Ben Williamson could be among those to step up.
Bowden had just pulled a black BMW into the garage of a Pimpama home when he was set upon by two gunmen
‘Nobody deserves to die in this manner but, you live by the sword, you die by the sword,’ police detective superintendent Brendan Smith said (Pictured are officers outside the Cox Rd home)
Interstate leaders such as Koshan ‘Koshie’ Radford (pictured) are likely to provide guidance on the Gold Coast in the wake of Bowden’s death
Williamson has history in taking on rival gangs, having been charged with bashing a Hells Angels member with a baseball bat in 2015.
Interstate leaders such as Koshan ‘Koshie’ Radford are also likely to provide guidance in his absence.
Bikie gang hierarchies are notoriously fluid, with chapter, state, and national leaders often making grabs for power and control.
Bowden for example had only returned to the Finks ranks in July after seven years as a Mongols member.
Before that he was front and centre for the Finks as they fought to maintain control of Queensland’s sunny streets in the infamous ‘Ballroom Blitz’.
Up to 40 Finks members stormed into a kickboxing event in 2005 to tackle a large contingent of Hells Angels rivals, in particular targeting Christopher Wayne Hudson.
Hudson – who a few years later carried out the Melbourne CBD shootings – was held down and bashed, before being shot, by Bowden and his good mate Nick ‘The Knife’ Forbes.
Bowden was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail, while Forbes served five years.
In the aftermath the pair defected to the Mongols and while he flipped and flopped between OMCGs over the years, Forbes has risen through the ranks to become the Mongols national president.
Tayne Clarkson, the president of the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks, was jailed on drug supply charges in NSW this week
Longtime senior members such as Nick ‘The Knife’ Forbes continue to hold rank on the Gold Coast, having defected from the Finks in 2013 – at the same time as his once best mate Bowden
Renowned hardman Toby Mitchell took over as the Victorian president of the Mongols last year
He has ruled with an iron fist since, kicking Bowden and several other longtime members out of the club
A Queensland Police source last year told The Sunshine Coast Daily that Forbes was looking to boost the OMCG’s membership.
‘He’s idolised by these young bikies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re trying to get a stronger foothold here on the Coast,’ the source said.
‘There is definitely a big push for new members, a big drive.’
In Victoria, renowned hardman Toby Mitchell took up the ranks as the state president last year.
He has seemingly ruled with an iron fist since, kicking Bowden out of the club shortly after he was released from prison in June.
Mark ‘Ferret’ Moroney – a longtime member and former NSW boss – was also told his time as part of the OMCG was up.
It is not suggested any of the Mongols OMCG members mentioned were involved in Bowden’s death.
Bowden had previously been shot in the leg during the drive-by attack in Melbourne in July and was awaiting more surgery to aid in his recovery.
Bowden was staying with Crystal Clement (pictured) on the Gold Coast when he was killed
Evidence tags are seen on the ground of the scene of the execution-style shooting on Monday
His ex-girlfriend Trudi McPhee believes those responsible for that attack are the same ‘cowards’ who carried out Monday’s early hour assassination.
She also warned that Bowden’s killing could spark an all-out bikie war on the streets of the Gold Coast.
‘As I sit here today I still don’t think it’s real. I don’t think anyone deserves to die like this,’ Ms McPhee said.
‘It’s pretty cowardly. If he had a gun, which he didn’t because he couldn’t or he’d do five years, he would’ve shot back.
‘Of course the cowards knew they couldn’t go up and confront him face-to-face as he was a handy boxer and they wouldn’t have stood a chance.
‘All I know is this war is going to get bigger and women and their children need to be careful, because in this war they don’t care who gets hurt.’
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SHANE BOWDEN:
1972: Shane Bowden is born to 12-year-old parents, seeing him adopted out to a family with older kids straight away
1996: Bowden, now 23, trains hard at the Australian Institute of Sport in the hope of reaching the 1996 Olympics
Late-1990s: After injury derails his career, Bowden begins to spend more time in the gym and is roped into the bikie world by underworld figures
2006: Bowden is involved in the huge Ballroom Blitz brawl on the Gold Coast and is jailed for six-and-a-half years
2013: After patching over to Mongols OMCG, Bowden is jailed for a violent home invasion alongside glamorous girlfriend Janet Campbell
2020 – June: Bowden is released from prison after five years behind bars. He is driven back to Melbourne by his Mongols brothers in a white limousine
Late-June: He is booted from the Mongols and rejoins the Finks
July 1: Bowden is shot in the leg during a drive-by attack
September: Bowden breaches COVID-19 restrictions when he flies into Qld from Victoria. He is charged over the breach
October 12: As he arrives home in his BMW in the early hours of Monday morning he is shot dead in cold blood
Source:Daily Mail AU | BBC News & Gossip