Dutch court bans motorcycle gang Bandidos

Bandidos (Picture: Twitter/@rathandsome)Bandidos (Picture: Twitter/@rathandsome)

On Wednesday the court in Utrecht banned motorcycle gang Bandidos in the Netherlands. The judge ruled that the club constitutes a threat to public order and that justifies a civil law ban. The club will be disbanded, ANP reports.

The ban applies to both the Dutch department of Bandidos and the international organization, and it is immediately effective. Clubhouses will be closed and members are no longer permitted to wear club clothing. Activities of foreign members in the Netherlands are also no longer allowed. "The presence of the Bandidos in the Netherlands, in whatever form, is immediately prohibited." the judge said. 

The Public Prosecution service started the procedure to get the Bandidos banned in 2016. The Prosecutor considers the club an outlaw motorcycle gang - an organization that structurally facilitates crime, such as drug trafficking, firearm possession, intimidation, and extortion. "The court rules that the culture of Bandidos and the resulting behavior is structural, so a ban is necessary to protect society", the judge agreed. 

The Bandidos' lawyer, Marnix van der Werf, argued that the criminal investigations against members of the club should be seen as separate incidents and not as part of the association. Just like there is no global Bandidos organization, but separate chapters, he said. 

The court disagreed, pointing out that the Bandidos work under the same name and wear the same clothing worldwide."There are also common rules in the Netherlands and there are national meetings that are attended by members of different chapters", the judge said. 

There is a good chance that the club will appeal against this ruling, Van der Werf said. Bandidos was established in the Netherlands in 2014 and the club has chapters in Sittard, Nijmegen and Utrecht.

This is the first time that a motorcycle gang is banned in the Netherlands. And it is a great success for the Public Prosecutor. A previous attempt to ban the Hells Angels in 2009 failed. The Public Prosecutor is also working on banning motorcycle gang Satudarah, and it is expected that procedures to ban No Surrender will also start soon. 

To ban a club or association, the Public Prosecutor must prove that it poses a danger to public order and of social disruption. Pedophile association Martijn was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 on these grounds. 

Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection, called the ban good news. "This type of club undermines our legal order", he said, according to NU.nl. "For that reason we'll also quickly work on a bill that prohibits criminal motorcycle gangs, as included in the coalition agreement."