Police launch major probe amid fears of bikie resurgence

FAR North police have launched a major blitz on bikie gangs amid concerns of a quiet resurgence in the region.

White Rock man Phillip Yanner, 45, who is the brother of outspoken Indigenous activist Murrandoo Yanner, is expected to apply for bail in the Cairns Magistrates Court amid allegations he is a patched member of the Rebels.

He is charged with drug possession offences and wearing a prohibited item in public, allegedly related to a belt he wore on a social motorbike ride to the Yungaburra Avenue of Honour in July bearing the club's insignia.

Police allegedly seized other club merchandise, including a jacket, from his home during a raid on Wednesday and have also charged his 25-year-old son, whose name is also Phillip Yanner, with drug offences.

Far North police Detective Acting Inspector Jason Smith revealed they had launched a specialist operation, codenamed "Puma" in June in response to a possible re-emergence of the outlaw gangs in the region.

Wearing bikie club merchandise in public is against the law in Queensland.
Wearing bikie club merchandise in public is against the law in Queensland.

He said this included checking on those who were previously members or associates to ensure they remained disassociated.

Tough legislation around bikie gangs was initially brought into effect by the Newman Government in 2013, which were repealed and replaced by the current Labor Government in 2016.

It is still an offence to be a member of an outlaw gang and to wear colours in any public place and Labor brought in a consorting offence, which also applied to other organised crime including child exploitation rings, fraudulent boiler room operations and drug trafficking.

"Outlaw motorcycle gangs are a known risk to the community through violence and drug associated activities and we would encourage anyone who has knowledge of (members or activity) to contact police because we are engaged in this space and have no tolerance for it," Det Acting Insp Smith said.

"As Detective Inspector I am worried they have been getting a toehold up here.

"The offenders have changed their MO (modus operandi) and we've had to change our tactics to stay ahead of them."

Police allegedly seized quantities of cannabis, cocaine, MDMA tablets and drug utensils at Mr Yanner Snr's Hollywood Blvd address, along with phones, computer devices and clothing. He is charged with three counts of possession of a dangerous drug, two counts of possession of a drug utensil and one count each of contravening an order and wearing a prohibited item in public.

His son is charged with three counts of possession of a dangerous drug and two counts of possession of a drug utensil and is due to appear in court on October 22.

Originally published as Police launch major probe amid fears of FNQ bikie resurgence



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