http://www.theage.com.au/news/natio...g/2006/09/23/1158431948594.html?page=fullpage Bikie gangs are using standover tactics to intimidate business rivals as they expand from drug trading to legitimate industries around Australia. The Australian Crime Commission says that while bikies remain prolific drug manufacturers and dealers, they are now investing in apparently respectable industries. "OMCG (Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs') involvement in outwardly legitimate business enterprises is potentially impacting adversely on a number of key market sectors in Australia, including finance, transport, private security, entertainment, natural resources and construction," the commission has found. Police investigations have also discovered that outlaw motorcycle gangs have: · Confronted witnesses so they will not give evidence. · Attacked businesses that have co-operated with police. · Forced a man to flee the country after he was involved in a confrontation with a bikie. · Invested heavily in natural resources, including Australian mining and Indonesian oil rigs. · Intimidated potential rival bidders at property auctions. · Become major players in gun running, tax fraud and money laundering schemes. · Planned to use frontmen to buy a legal brothel in Melbourne. · Infiltrated government departments to access confidential computer records. · Hidden a triple killer from police in Melbourne for 18 months. Police say the bikies are using organised crime tactics to intimidate and destroy existing business rivals. A Victoria Police investigation has linked a series of suspicious fires in Melbourne's hydroponics industry to Hells Angels member Terrence Tognolini, who declares he is also the spokesman for the Australia Hydroponics Supplier and Manufacturers Association. The head of crime tasked operations, Detective Superintendent Richard Grant, said outlaw motorcycle gangs represented "a serious organised crime threat to Victoria". "They are intertwined in the amphetamine industry and are moving into legitimate businesses," he said. The police believed key gang members were responsible for a series of arsons around Melbourne, he said. "They will seek to intimidate witnesses and police as well. For them there are no rules when it comes to protecting their markets and image." Police say Tognolini, a senior member of the Nomads Hells Angels chapter, has been linked to three murders and is connected to Melbourne's underworld. The Supreme Court of South Australia was told that Tognolini provided the German Luger pistol used to kill Tim Richards and Les Knowles in an Adelaide auto repair shop on August 15, 1996. Evidence was given, and accepted by the jury, that the men were killed by Gerald Preston, on the instructions of Tognolini, for a payment of $10,000. Tognolini has also been linked to the murder of Vicki Jacobs, who was shot dead as she slept next to her son in their Bendigo home on July 12, 1999. Ms Jacobs, Preston's former wife, had been a key witness against her former husband. The Australian Crime Commission says there are about 3500 outlaw bikies in Australia and numbers are growing. It says there are 35 gangs operating in Australia, with 17 having a presence in Victoria. A new book Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers Global Crime Empire by Canadian experts William Marsden and Julian Sher, says Australia has the highest number of bikies per capita in the world. The commission says bikies are now using their clubs as fronts for criminal activities. "There appears to be a new generation of OMCG members emerging who appear less interested in the historical 'ideals' of OMCG membership and more interested in using the OMCG club to facilitate criminal enterprise."