The Hells Angels have established a new chapter in the Lower Mainland.
A message posted to the Hells Angels’ international website recently welcomed the new members of the Hardside chapter.
“I think it’s disturbing that this group that the police call the Number 1 organized crime group in the province is continuing to expand,” said Kim Bolan, the Vancouver Sun crime reporter who broke the story.
Bolan said Hardside is the 10th chapter in the province and the second new chapter to have been established in the last five years. It consists of former members of other B.C. chapters including Vancouver and Haney.
“Generally, the breakaway groups that form new chapters are younger, more active members who want to be out in the community with their patches on their back and in the face of others,” Bolan said. “They want to make sure that people know who they are.”
At this point, police are not sure where the Hardside chapter will be based or if it plans to open a clubhouse.
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There are an estimated 121 Hells Angels members in B.C., up from 100 three years ago.
Former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed said other gangs in the province have also increased their numbers and the problem can’t be solved by an “arrest our way out of this” approach.
“When you take out a particular group, when you take out some individuals… the void is so easily filled by up-and-comers,” Heed said. “This has been a continuing problem for quite some time here in British Columbia.”
The provincial gang task force was unavailable for an interview with Global News.
Hells Angels spokesman Rick Ciarniello told Global News “there’s no story to speak of.”
On Saturday, up to 200 people, including full-patch Hells Angels, are expected to ride from Nanaimo to Langford to mark the passing of a prospective Hells Angels member who was murdered earlier this month.