Portugal charges 89 Hells Angels bikers after Lisbon attack

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Portuguese prosecutors charged 89 members of Hells Angels biker gangs with involvement in organized crime, attempted murder, robbery and drug trafficking. The bikers were also charged with qualified extortion and possession of illegal weapons and ammunition.

"According to the indictment, the accused belong to Hells Angels Motorcycle Club," said the chief prosecutor's statement.

Dozens of the group's Portuguese and members from other countries have been arrested following a long investigation.

Out of the 89 members charged by Portugal, 37 are in pre-trial detention, five are under house arrest, and two are detained in Germany awaiting extradition to Portugal, the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that the gang's members tried to kill four people and seriously injured others last year at a restaurant on the outskirts of Portugal's capital, Lisbon. The restaurant was destroyed in the Hells Angels attack.

At the time of the restaurant attack, the Hell Angels was involved in a gang war for control of illicit guns and drug trade, according to authorities.

Read more: Cologne police raid Hells Angels hideout

Germany, the Netherlands clamp down

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is a worldwide group whose members are typically male and white and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The club was formed in the United States in 1948. The United States Department of Justice regards them as an international crime syndicate.

In May, a court in the Dutch city of Utrecht banned the international biker club and ordered all its Dutch chapters to close.

The Utrecht court said the club was led by "a culture of violence," from which the public needed protection.

In October 2017, hundreds of German police officers raid apartments and seized property of a Hells Angels' charter in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

Violent clashes among biker factions and biker-related crimes are relatively common in Germany, which has over 70 Hells Angels charters. In NRW, members of the world's best-known motorcycle club have a history of bloody rivalry with the Bandidos, another international biker association.

Read more: Gang crime still 'a huge problem,' says top criminal investigator

shs/sms (Reuters, AP)

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