Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club
Gypsy Joker colors (left) with members of other outlaw clubs at the Gypsy Jokers Protest Run, 14 March 2009
|Founded||April 1, 1956|
|Founding location||San Francisco, California|
|Territory||Australia, Germany, South Africa, Norway and the United States|
|Criminal activities||Armed robbery, arson, assault, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, fraud, gun trafficking, homicide, identity theft, motorcycle theft, prostitution|
The Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club (GJMC), or the Gypsy Jokers as they are called in Australia, are a "one-percenter" motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate that was originally formed in San Francisco, California on April Fool's Day, 1956. They are one of the most notorious and violent motorcycle gangs in both the US and in Australia.
Prominently featured in Hunter Thompson's book Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, they were the second most powerful outlaw motorcycle club in California until they were forced out of the San Francisco Bay Area by the Hells Angels. They relocated to Oregon and Washington in 1967, taking up temporary residence in Lincoln City, Oregon. The club has since spread to Australia, Germany, Norway and South Africa. There are approximately 35 chapters worldwide. In response to proposed anti-"bikie" laws in Australia, a protest rally was held in 2009, including a show of support by many other outlaw bikers, even among rival gangs.
The group has a high profile in Australia, especially in the southern and western regions. They are well known in Australia for the 2001 car bomb murder of Western Australia's former chief detective Don Hancock. The gang had an altercation with Hancock at the hotel he owned in Kalgoorlie. After setting up a campsite Gypsy Joker Billy Grierson was shot dead by a sniper and it was alleged that Hancock was the shooter.[dated info]
In February 2008, police forced the Gypsy Jokers to dismantle its clubhouse fortifications, which include a concrete front wall, surveillance cameras and modified doors, in Perth, Western Australia. The club said the security was needed in the area where the burglary rate is high.
Two Gypsy Joker members were jailed on March 5, 2009 on charges of assault. On May 12, 2007, Dean Alan Adams and Peter Floyd Robinson attacked Petera Heta Haimona outside the Cactus Club in Gosnells, Western Australia and beat him with metal pipes.
A Gypsy Joker was charged with unlawful possession of a large sum of cash, weapons and ammunition on August 17, 2007. Police pulled his car over and discovered a gun, an expandable baton, capsicum spray and ammunition when they searched his vehicle.
A Gypsy Joker member was charged with attempted murder on March 17, 2009. He shot and wounded a member of the Newboys gang and former Hells Angel outside their clubhouse in Adelaide, South Australia.
On May 19, 2009, five Gypsy Jokers were involved in a drug-related shoot-out with another gang in Perth, Western Australia. Two were wounded and taken to hospital, one of which was Club President Leonard Mark Kirby.
On April 14, 2012, Gypsy Joker Anthony "Rooster" Perish, his brother Andrew (a Rebels Motorcycle Club gang member) and Matthew Lawton were sentenced to eighteen, nine and fifteen years respectively for the murder of convicted drug trafficker Terry Falconer, conspiracy to commit murder and firearms and drug offences
In 2004, the police raided the Gypsy Joker clubhouse in Portland, Oregon looking for two men wanted for armed robbery. The men were not there, however, and the club sued the Portland Police Bureau for $50,000 because of the damage caused in the raid.
On April 10, 2008, police raided the Gypsy Joker clubhouse in Kennewick, Washington and arrested four men for possession of methamphetamine. Stolen property and weapons were also seized from the premises.
On August 13, 2009, police in Nampa, Idaho, with assistance of the FBI, pulled over and detained approximately 60 to 70 members of the Gypsy Joker MC just off exit 38 on interstate 84. They were searched, interrogated, and photographed for future reference by law enforcement concerning gang affiliated activity.
On October 12, 2013 Joshua Cavett, a member of the Gypsy Jokers, murdered his estranged wife in front of her two daughters and kidnapped the youngest daughter. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole in 2042 for the killing along with charges of felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of body armor. On his way out of court after sentencing, Cavett was excommunicated from The Gypsy Jokers for his actions. A video of the event depicts Cavett leaving the courtroom in handcuffs, escorted by police, while a man filming says to him, "Josh, you're out in bad standings, man."
- AAP (23 March 2009)
- Isaacs 2004
- Veno 2003 p. 76 ff
- Harrison (2009)
- Gangs in Idaho: Gypsy Jokers
- Veno (2003) p. 76, "The Gypsy Jokers have the highest profile in South Australia and Western Australia, and a number of violent incidents have occurred in both states, including shootings and clashes with police, putting them under the spotlight.
- Denson (2008) "Now, police identify about 80 Jokers in the [Oregon] region, half of them felons. They have been sent to prison for their roles in drug dealing, robbery, kidnapping, rape, murder and other crimes -- most of them years ago."
- Harrison (2009) "The most dangerous gangs include The Rebels with 2000 members. There are also the Gypsy Jokers, Coffin Cheaters, Bandidos, The Black Uhlans and the Finks described as the most disorganised but most violent, according to Professor Arthur Veno, author of The Brotherhoods."
- Larkin, Steve (March 14, 2009), "Bikie gangs unite and bury rivalries", AdelaideNow (News Limited)
- "Biker gang member beaten by police, say Gypsy Jokers". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- "Gypsy Jokers forced to destroy clubhouse fort". Royalespot.blogspot.com. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- Gypsy Joker bikies jailed over Gosnells attack[dead link]
- "Gypsy Joker gang member charged over weapons haul". Abc.net.au. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- Gypsy Joker allegedly shot the Newboys gang member about 8pm (CDT) yesterday
- Gypsy Joker seriously injured in Perth shootings
- Margaret Schiekowski: "Brothers locked up over lethal revenge on a killing: Daily Telegraph: 14.04.2012
- Portland settles suit from raid on Gypsy Joker clubhouse[dead link]
- "Authorities Raid Gypsy Joker Clubhouse In Kennewick". Kndu.com. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- Idaho Uses FBI Agents to Detain Oregon Motorcycle Riders - Salem-News.Com
- AAP (21 April 2005), Gypsy Joker sniper shooting mystery, The Sydney Morning Herald
- AAP (23 March 2009), Gypsy Jokers concerned for image after airport brawl
- AAP (18 June 2009), "Western Australia promises anti-bikie laws; puts pressure on Victoria", Herald Sun[dead link]
- AAP (10 August 2009), Cracks revealed in WA police war with bikies, AAP
- Bain, Di (10 August 2009), Claims evidence flawed in infamous WA murder trial
- Debelle, Penelope (2 July 2005), "Joker feared murdered", The Age (Melbourne)
- Denson, Bryan (20 April 2008), "Oregon's outlaw motorcycle gangs", The Oregonian
- Denson, Bryan (21 October 2009), "Police hear rumble as Mongols Motorcycle Club bikers roar in", The Oregonian
- Harrison, Larkin (23 April 2009), "Australia’s most dangerous bikie gangs", NineMSN
- Hayward, Andrea (13 August 2008), Gypsy Jokers lose bid to keep fortifications
- Isaacs, Nathan (12 December 2004), "Uneasy riders: Gypsy Joker riders say they're fraternal group, but police see darker side", Tri City Herald
- PerthNow (June 19, 2009), Police ministers agree on national bikie crackdown[dead link]
- Thompson, Hunter S. (1966). Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (Paperback ed.). Penguin Books. p. 164. ISBN 0-14-028555-5.
- Veno, Arthur (2003), The Brotherhoods, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 9781741141375
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