Brisbane police say victims of a bikie extortion ring, which targeted young men in gyms, had done nothing wrong.
Fourteen people have been charged with operating a bikie extortion ring targeting young men at Brisbane gyms.
Dozens of detectives launched 15 simultaneous raids against the Bandidos in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Logan on Sunday morning.
Twelve men and two women were arrested and charged with 65 offences, including 37 charges of extortion, assault occasioning bodily harm in company and assault.
Police allege that nine of those arrested are patched members of the Bandidos, including two chapter presidents and three sergeants at arms.
Detective Inspector Brendan Smith says the “thugs and bullies” targeted young, well-built men in inner city gyms.
“They were innocent people, they were just opportunistically targeted,” he told reporters.
“There was no reason, they weren’t doing anything wrong, there was nothing hidden in the background, that could’ve been my son or my daughter at the gym being targeted, it’s just incredible that it’s gone on.”
A number of victims were bashed including one man who needed facial reconstruction surgery after suffering a broken nose, a fractured eye socket and chipped teeth.
Det Insp Smith said another victim was even threatened with a handgun and a baseball bat.
Deputy Police Commissioner Brett Pointing said all the victims were targeted because they were young and the gang believed they could pick on them.
“A younger person finds it much harder to deal with situations like this,” he said.
“Keep in mind that extortion is an offence that has violence at its heart, it’s a very, very frightening position to find yourself in.”
Mr Pointing said that in some cases the gang went to the victim’s workplace or their family home.
Det Insp Smith said gang members had even just walked into homes looking for victims without knocking.
“You’re sitting in your loungeroom and suddenly you’ve got three bikies walking into your loungeroom, you know, it’s not on.”
Officers said the gang was also allegedly contracted by a building company to collect a debt from a Fortitude Valley hairdresser.
The gang allegedly extorted up to $16,000 in cash and jewellery and property worth $24,000.
Fourteen people have been charged, but Det Insp Smith was expecting more arrests.
The first alleged members of the extortion ring are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.