Public Prosecution Service: ban Hells Angels MC necessary because of culture of violence

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club maintains a culture of violence that continues to lead to violence. That is why a ban is necessary. The Public Prosecution Service argued this before the Utrecht District Court on Wednesday 6 March 2019 during the explanation of the requested civil ban of the international Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and its Dutch chapter.

The Public Prosecution Service explained in detail how Hells Angels MC encourages its members to commit violence. The club has several internal awards for members who commit violence. The ball peen hammer pin is for members who have used verified violence on behalf of the club. The Dequiallo patch is worn by members who have committed violence against the police. The Filthy Few patch is for members who have committed a murder, or at least very serious violence. In addition, the club awards a Deathhead Purple Heart to members who 'have shed their blood in defence of the club'. Dutch members of the club have also been seen with these awards, the significance of which has been established by police forces from around the world. Several former members from different countries have also made statements in this regard. In 2018, the District Court of North Holland had already established in a number of now irrevocable judgments in a criminal case of two of the four awards that these were intended to reward violence by Hells Angels members.

At the hearing, the Public Prosecution Service also showed many examples of how Hells Angels MC glorifies and promotes violence on club clothing and other support gear. The public prosecutors also explained how the club imposes a duty of confidentiality on members and continuously maintains lists of the many club members in detention to support them financially and morally during detention. Moreover, Hells Angels MC uses violence and intimidation to impose its will on ordinary motorcycle clubs in the Netherlands because the club believes it has to control who in the motorcycle world can wear which name, colour and symbols. In all these acts contrary to public order, it is not a matter of a few 'rotten apples', but of many members and chapters that behave in accordance with the rules of the club.

The culture of violence of Hells Angels MC and similar outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMG) leads to an endless spiral of violence. Several people in the Netherlands have already been severely beaten up, stabbed or shot at in the battle between Hells Angels MC and other motorcycle gangs. This happened, for example, in a full restaurant in Rotterdam in 2016. In recent years, hand grenades have also been placed in residential areas of various municipalities and fires have been started at the homes of members of motorcycle gangs and at cafés where they met. In all the countries around us, several people have already died in this battle between motorcycle gangs. Also ordinary citizens regularly become victims of serious violence by members of Hells Angels MC, for example at a festival in North Holland in 2016.

The Public Prosecution Service believes that a ban on motorcycle gangs such as Hells Angels MC is necessary to prevent further violence and, in the future, also fatalities in the Netherlands. The Public Prosecution Service previously asked for a ban on the Bandidos, Satudarah and No Surrender. The bans requested and now partly granted form part of the integral government approach of OMGs.

Ten years ago, the Public Prosecution Service tried to ban several local associations and foundations (registered with the Chamber of Commerce) that were used by the Hells Angels. This was rejected by the court. Now the Public Prosecution Service asks for a ban on the entire club itself and also on the Dutch chapter. As part of the club, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation is also mentioned, with which Hells Angels MC protects its logos. The facts presented today are more extensive and serious than ten years ago and, in the Public Prosecution Service's view, can be attributed to the club and its Dutch chapter. ‘The petition has become a catalogue of crime, and especially much, very much, violence’, according to the Public Prosecution Service.

After the Public Prosecution Service, several more lawyers will speak at the hearing to put forward their defence against the requested ban. They argue, inter alia, that there is no such thing as a worldwide organisation called Hells Angels MC. The District Court of Midden-Nederland has indicated that it intends to give judgment on Wednesday 29 May.