Friday, February 5, 2010

The coast of corruption again

Gold Coast club owner alleges police intimidation

POLICE threatened to shut down a Gold Coast club after the owner stopped providing free drinks and lap dances, a lawyer says. The club was allegedly put on a "hit list" last year after the proprietor decided to end VIP hospitality for off-duty police.

"He decided enough was enough in terms of freeloading coppers," said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He sought our advice after the police suggested they could find ways to have him shut down. He was concerned and had to step up his security as a result."

The Crime and Misconduct Commission is investigating allegations police have been getting too close to the Gold Coast club scene, including involvement in drug dealing. Some clubs are known to fete off-duty police with free entry, free drinks and even lap dances. At least one club is said to provide police with $100 drink cards, with some strip clubs offering officers "special treatment".

Senior police admit some young officers have been "caught up in the wrong crowd". They rub shoulders with bikies who are reputed to control the nightclub drug trade on the Glitter Strip.

Bikie associates have held stakes in Coast clubs and been involved in running security. "It has absolutely nothing to do with making money out of security and everything to do with the supply of drugs to a ready-made market," a legal source said.

Last November, authorities ended a two-year operation targeting prominent Gold Coast bikie gang the Finks. During the operation, run by the Australian Crime Commission and Queensland police, more than 40 people were arrested on 160 charges and in excess of $1 million in drugs, cash and property was seized.

In September, Finks sergeant-at-arms Gregory Keating was jailed for refusing to break his gang's code of silence, after he declined to answer the ACC's questions about illegal drug distribution.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson this week admitted some police may have been corrupted by the Gold Coast's "Las Vegas" lifestyle.


1 comment:

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