'Criminal' Biker Gangs Moving to Estonia, Finland Warns

Source: Photo: ERR

Finnish police have warned their Estonian colleagues that the Hells Angels and Bandidos motorcycle gangs, which they believe to have criminal leanings, are expanding to Estonia.

"Our info shows that such a migration from Finland to Estonia has been going on," Finnish criminal investigator Tapio Kalliokoski told ETV. The officer alleged that 60 to 70 percent of Finland's large-scale drug crimes have been related to biker gangs.

Lenno Reimand, the Criminal Police Department's information bureau chief in Estonia, said that the experience of other countries shows that the biker gangs have close ties to criminal activities.

Estonian bikers association president Aare Kõuts said the claims are no more than media sensationalism and stereotyping. "I don't think there is any point to deepening these stereotypes," said Kõuts.

In the 1990s, two of the world's most infamous biker groups began expanding to Finland from Denmark and Sweden. The trend correlated with a string of bloody gang-related conflicts that sometimes ended in bar fights, other times worse.

"When those gangs came to Finland in the beginning of the 1990s, a territorial war began with roots in Denmark, where there was talk of a large Nordic gang war. People were shot and killed in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland," said Finnish journalist Jarkko Sipilä. Since that wave of violence, things have calmed down.

Estonia currently has two biker clubs that associate themselves with the gangs. In September, the police searched the headquarters of the Mercenaries motorcycle club, suspecting its leader of drug crimes.

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