Dutch Prosecution Service requests ban of the Bandidos MC in the Netherlands
On Monday 14 November 2016, the National Office of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS) has requested the district court of Utrecht to ban the Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Bandidos MC) in the Netherlands. This request concerns both the international motorcycle club and its Dutch branch. Therefore, the DPPS has filed two legal applications at the district court. The purpose of this procedure is to end the presence of the Bandidos MC in the Netherlands.
On Monday 14November 2016, the National Office of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS) has requested the district court of Utrecht to ban the Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Bandidos MC) in the Netherlands. This request concerns both the international motorcycle club and its Dutch branch. Therefore, the DPPS has filed two legal applications at the district court. The purpose of this procedure is to end the presence of the Bandidos MC in the Netherlands.
According to the DPPS, the activities of this so-called 1% motorcycle club (1%MC) violate public order. In March 2014, the Bandidos MC expanded to the Netherlands and established chapters in the cities of Sittard, Alkmaar and Utrecht. Shortly after this expansion, members of the club became subjects of criminal investigations. The present applications are based on articles 2:20 and 10:122 of the Dutch civil code.
To ensure that the activities of all members of the Bandidos MC will be banned in the Netherlands, it is necessary for the DPPS to target both the international organization of the Bandidos MC and its Dutch branch . During the last couple of years, Dutch members of the Bandidos MC have threatened multiple times to call in foreign members of the Bandidos for support or retaliation.
Governmental administrations of various countries worldwide have taken measures against the Bandidos MC. Germany, for instance, has banned some chapters. The United States authorities have arrested and indicted the main leadership of the organization.
In the filed applications, the DPPS elaborates extensively on the international activities of Bandidos MC and their disruptive effect on society. The comprehensive and detailed evidence in the filed applications lead to the conclusion that the activities conducted by the motorcycle gang in the Netherlands and abroad, present a threat to the community .
According to the Prosecution Service, the motorcycle gang cultivates a violent image facilitates crime and creates a subculture of lawlessness. Acts of violence are stimulated and facilitated. Members of the Bandidos MC, including board members, commit violent crimes and other serious offences, such as the trade in illegal drugs and weapons, intimidation and extortion.
The Bandidos MC imposes a code of silence on its members and intimidates witnesses and civil servants to obstruct the judicial process. Also, members of the Bandidos MC are frequently victim of violence or extortion by fellow club members, particularly when they (are forced to) resign from the club .
Moreover, the Bandidos MC is engaged in an ongoing turf war with other outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs). Over the last couple of years, and as part of this conflict between OMGs, multiple attacks were executed with molotov cocktails and hand grenades, targeting vehicles, cafés and houses in the Netherlands. Moreover, people have received death threats, have been shot, stabbed or assaulted.
Since the brief period of time that the Bandidos MC has been present in the Netherlands, many of its Dutch members – including board members – have been involved in serious crimes, such as the illegal possession of weapons and drug related offences.
Subculture of lawlessness
Over the course of years, Dutch authorities have taken both criminal and administrative measures often and consequently against the problems caused by outlaw motorcycle gangs. Where crimes were detected, members were prosecuted when possible. However, due to the adherence of a code of silence by members of 1%MCs and the lack of cooperation by intimidated victims and witnesses, numerous incidents could not be prosecuted.
The application of administrative measures has lead to the deployment of surveillance camera systems, the closure of living residences and cafés, the cancellation of public events and the enactment of local emergency measures. Local authorities and the police have pressed repeatedly for a ban on outlaw motorcycle gangs. Since the establishment of the Bandidos MC in the Netherlands in 2014, multiple mayors have repeated yearly the need to ban motorcycle gangs. A recent poll by television programme ‘EenVandaag’ found that dozens of mayors want OMGs banned from society.
The criminal justice approach
In the filed applications, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service argues that criminal justice and administrative measures against individual members are insufficient to tackle the problems that are caused by the Bandidos MC . In fact, the club frustrates both domestically and abroad the investigation and prosecution of crimes by imposing a code of silence on its members, by punishing the cooperation with investigating authorities and by intimidating witnesses.
Subjecting members to criminal investigations generally enhances their status within the club. The Bandidos MC supports such suspected members both morally and financially. When released from incarceration, members are welcomed back in the club with so-called ‘release parties’.
The DPPS concludes that there is no reasonable alternative for a total ban. To bring an end to the serious threat caused by a culture of lawlessness, the DPPS finds it necessary to request a ban on the Bandidos MC in the Netherlands.