August 8, 2018 6:23 pm

Hells Angels, over 500 bikers expected near Saint-Hyacinthe, police ask public to avoid area

Wed, Aug 8: The Hells Angels are holding their annual gathering in Quebec for the first time in 10 years. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu is expected to host over 500 bikers from across the country.

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It was quiet on a farm road in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, but this weekend, hundreds of bikers are expected to be at a Hells Angels bunker east of Montreal.

“We’re talking anywhere between five- and seven-hundred bikers which will attend,” explains Quebec Provincial Police spokesperson Guy Lapointe. “Because to the 500 members, you have to add the supporting clubs that will also have representatives.”

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READ MORE: Police in Quebec make more than 60 Hells Angels related arrests

The clubhouse is about 20 minutes northeast of Saint-Hyacinthe. Every year, the group has a gathering in a different part of the country. Last year, it was in Calgary and two years ago, it was near Ottawa. The last time it was held in Quebec was about 10 years ago.

Police say the meeting is really a show of force and intimidation — they want others to know that they control the territory and are here to stay.

Quebec police have cracked down on the bikers in recent months for alleged drug trafficking. In April, they made 60 arrests disrupting a multi-million-dollar network. They insist they’re ready for this weekend’s gathering.

READ MORE: Police arrest 4 more people in drug investigation linked to Hells Angels

“We’ll make them feel our presence as well, you can be sure of that,” says Lapointe.

But he admits if the bikers respect the law, they’ll be left alone.

He also says people should not fear for their safety.

“They’re not in the business of going after civilians,” he tells Global News. “That’s not what they do. They don’t want that kind of attention.”

One thing police are asking is that people avoid the area altogether.

WATCH: Hells Angels and other ‘outlaw motorcycle gangs’ expected in Calgary this weekend (July 2017): police

In recent years, authorities have noticed a celebrity culture building around Hells Angels members by fans of the TV series Sons of Anarchy.

“But this isn’t a TV show,” he stresses. “There’s no script, there are no actors, people have died. “These people use violence, intimidation — they are criminals!”

Some Saint-Hyacinthe residents say though they’re not scared, they do plan to stay away. Cynthia Sappracone says the meeting won’t affect her life one way or another.

“They do their own thing, I do my own thing, I mean — they don’t bother you if you don’t bother them, so.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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