Being a prospective or former member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is enough to warrant the deportation of a non-citizen, the Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled in a case that declares the bikers a criminal organization.
The decision comes as the government steps up use of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, rather than just criminal charges, to tackle gangs; at least four Hells Angels have now been deported from Canada for membership in a criminal organization.
Alejandro Mariano Chung, 43, a citizen of Chile who came to Canada in 1979 but never obtained Canadian citizenship, is the latest man tied to the world’s largest and most notorious biker gang to be deported for his involvement with the bikers.
Mr. Chung had started the arduous process of becoming a full member of the Hells Angels in its Manitoba chapter.Related
Highly regimented, the international club requires recruits to first be named an official friend, then as a hang-around and then a prospect. Successful candidates may then become “full-patch members” and get the distinctive patch of a winged skull to be worn on the back of a jacket.
Not long after becoming a hang-around, Mr. Chung was one of only two people inside the Winnipeg clubhouse on July 29, 2010, when authorities arrived to seize it under the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.
Mr. Chung and another hang-around had apparently been told to tidy the place up. They were not charged, but the incident was one of several interactions with police used as evidence at his immigration hearing.
Asked at his hearing why he wanted to become a full member he replied: “I just wanted to ride a motorcycle with them.”
Although Mr. Chung denied seeing any criminal activity, evidence from Winnipeg police and the Ontario Provincial Police painted a different picture.
‘The business of the Hells Angels is crime’: IRB ruling
Almost all of the members of the Manitoba chapter have criminal records, mostly convictions for drug trafficking, their primary criminal activity, police said. In Ontario, 67.2% of Hells Angels members had a criminal conviction, 43% drug-related, police said.
“The business of the Hells Angels is crime,” the IRB ruled. “From the organization’s point of view it would make no sense to invest time in bringing Mr. Chung up through the ranks unless he was going to be part of their criminal activity.”
The IRB declared the Hells Angels a criminal organization and Mr. Chung — despite only being a prospect — as a member. Membership in a criminal organization is grounds for inadmissibility to Canada under the immigration act.
He was deported last month but has filed an appeal with the Federal Court of Canada, seeking to return.
The government is increasingly using immigration law, where the burden of proof is lower than in criminal court, to target the Hells Angels.
Three other non-Canadian members of the gang have been detained and removed from Canada because of their ties.
Mitchell Vaughan, a member of the Hells Angels Nomads chapter from Melbourne, Australia, was detained in Victoria, B.C. and, on Sept. 30, 2011, was deported to his homeland.
In 2010, Mark Staples, treasurer of the Downtown Toronto Chapter of the gang, who came to Canada from Scotland in 1969 when he was seven years old but never became a Canadian, was stopped at Vancouver airport when returning from Japan. He was travelling on a British passport and deported to the U.K. in 2010.
Adam Hall was sent back to the United States in 2007 when he was deemed inadmissible to Canada despite having a Canadian mother.
A member of the Hells Angels in Massachusetts, he currently faces charges of killing three men, one of whom was scheduled to testify against him in another trial.
This summer, the Hells Angels filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., challenging the U.S. government’s recent ban on foreign members of the Hells Angels entering the U.S.
The lawsuit says its members are “motorcycle enthusiasts who have joined to ride motorcycles together, organize social events, fundraisers, parties and motorcycle rallies.”
It denies the Hells Angels are a criminal organization.
National Post
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