So many Comanchero bikies have been deported from Australia that members have set up the first chapter of the club in New Zealand.
Tough immigration laws which have seen hundreds of Kiwis thrown out of the country on character grounds have led to the ‘black and gold empire’ spreading across the Tasman.
New Zealand police had warned for years that returning bikies would bolster the numbers and criminal professionalism of local gang ranks.
Now some of the 14 patched members of the Comanchero booted out of Australia have formed their own chapter in their homeland.
Other big gangs found in Australia including the Rebels and Bandidos were already established in New Zealand but this is the first time the Comanchero have had a foothold.
The gang, which engaged in a gunfight with Bandidos at Milperra in 1984 in which seven people died, has vowed to get ‘stronger and stronger’.
Photographs posted to Instagram and Facebook show Comanchero members wearing their black and gold colours with ‘New Zealand’ below the club’s condor logo.
In two pictures, half a dozen bikies are standing around or sitting on gold-detailed motorcycles.
‘All done and sworn in… welcome aboard to my brothers in New Zealand,’ one Instagram post by an Australian Comanchero said.
‘Another Comanchero chapter opened up. We growing stronger and stronger.’
The post addresses Immigration Minister Peter Dutton who has vowed to keep deporting Kiwis his department deems to be of bad character.
‘F*** Peter Dutton,’ it said. ‘But you made this possible #lol.’
One of the Comanchero members pictured is Pasilika Naufahu, once a senior member of the gang in Sydney, who was deported two years ago, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Naufahu, who lived in Australia for 27 years, has said he did not want to go back to the country of his birth.
A 2015 police intelligence report released under the Official Information Act estimated the cost of criminal offending by deportees arriving in New Zealand over five years would exceed $100million.
Another report from January 2017 predicted 200 members of Australian gangs which did not have chapters in New Zealand would be deported in the next two years.
New Zealand has its own well-established outlaw motorcycle gangs but police there are concerned about the arrival of the Comanchero, a group considered to be involved in sophisticated drug dealing.
The gang’s former national president Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi was shot dead outside a gym at Rockdale, in Sydney’s south, on February 15.
Hundreds of Kiwis have been deported since December 2014, with 664 visas cancelled in the last financial year.
Among those sent home has been Shane Martin, a Rebels member and the father of premiership-winning AFL star Dustin Martin.
Martin was exiled to New Zealand in March last year under ‘character grounds’ in the Migration Act and was stopped from entering Bali on a planned holiday before Christmas.
In November, Jesse Johnston, a heavily-tattooed member of the Finks, was kicked out of Bali and Australia and deported back to New Zealand.
In October Rebels bikie boss Aaron ‘AJ’ Graham was deported to his native New Zealand after his visa was cancelled for a third time.
New Zealand police are concerned about the Comanchero’s propensity for lawlessness including brazen shootings and other public displays of extreme violence.
Last December a picture was posted to a Gangs of New Zealand social media page showing a group of five men, two of whom were wearing Comanchero paraphernalia.
A caption below the picture read: ‘Comanchero New Zealand. Making moves here in Aotearoa. Respect.’
At that time Police Association president Chris Cahill told radio station Newstalk ZB the picture was ‘very likely linked’ to deportations from Australia.
‘We know the Australian government targeted senior gang members that are New Zealand citizens and have deported a number of them,’ Mr Cahill said.
‘New Zealand’s a relatively small place, there’s only so much criminal activity and money that can be made out of drugs – which is a gang’s main form of money – so that leads to competition and with these gangs that can lead to violence and sooner or later that will spill over into the public.’
Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, the head of the National Organised Crime Group, confirmed to the New Zealand Herald earlier this month the Comanchero had formed a New Zealand chapter.
He said it had been inevitable the gang would branch out to New Zealand when so many Comanchero members had been deported.
‘It’s concerning,’ Detective Superintendent Williams told the newspaper. ‘Like the other Australian gangs, the Rebels and the Bandidos, we expect the Comancheros will attempt to establish themselves in the drug market within New Zealand.’
Detective Superintendent Williams said the Comanchero appeared to be aligning themselves with the notorious Mongrel Mob and the Filthy Few.
‘The reality of gang life, whether it’s seen by the public or not, is one of violence,’ he said. ‘When dealing with the gangs, we’re finding people with all sorts of firearms.
‘And there is friction when gangs try to move into an established drug market. So there may be [violence] that comes out of this. To date, there hasn’t been.
‘It will be interesting to see what happens.’
The Comanchero already has overseas chapters in Russia, Spain and Bosnia. Hawi’s successor Mark Buddle is believed to be living in Europe