The world's second largest biker gang, the Bandidos, were banned by a court in the Netherlands on Wednesday, December 20.
The case was brought by the Dutch prosecution service, which claimed the Bandidos were involved in drugs and gun trafficking and prostitution.
Justice Minister Sander Dekker welcomed the ruling and said the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte would press on with plans to outlaw all motorcycle gangs, including indigenous motorcycle clubs like No Surrender and Satudarah.
Verbod Bandidos is goed nieuws. Dit soort clubs ondermijnen onze rechtsorde. Daarom ook snel werk maken van wetsvoorstel dat criminele motorbendes verbiedt, zoals opgenomen in regeerakkoord. https://t.co/UFAD5RqExQ— Sander Dekker (@SanderDekker) 20 December 2017
[Tweet: "Banning Bandidos is good news. These kind of clubs undermine our legal system. Therefore also make quick work of the Bill that prohibits criminal motorcycle gangs, as recorded in our coalition agreement."]
But Marnix van der Werf, a lawyer for the Bandidos, said he would be appealing the judgment, which he said was unfair and tarnished the entire group because of acts carried out by individuals.
Made in America
The Bandidos were founded in Texas in 1966 and have spread globally in recent decades, frequently clashing with their arch-rivals, the Hells Angels, and with other biker gangs.
Between 1994 and 1997 the Bandidos and the Hells Angels clashed violently in Scandinavia in what became known as the Great Nordic Biker War.
Twelve bikers were killed and dozens injured in a series of violent attacks in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, in which the two gangs used guns, bombs and even anti-tank weapons.
In 2009 six men were jailed for life in Canada after eight bikers were shot dead in Shedden, Ontario, after an internecine feud within the Bandidos.
In May 2015 the Bandidos and a local rival, the Cossacks, took part in a horrific shootout at a bar in Waco, Texas, which led to the deaths of nine men.
Jacob Carrizal, a senior Bandido, was prosecuted for conspiracy to commit murder and membership of a "criminal street gang" earlier this year but it ended in a mistrial.
The gang opened its first chapter in the Netherlands in 2014 in the town of Sittard, near the Belgian border.
It then opened chapters in Alkmaar, Utrecht and Nijmegen, all of which have been ordered to close down as a result of Wednesday's ruling.
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. https://t.co/uhSFzEBzdu— Kari Rantama (@RantamaKari) 20 December 2017
Rival Hells Angels immediately objected to the presence of the Bandidos on what they perceived as their territory, and there have been a number of violent incidents in Limburg province, including petrol bombs being thrown at members' homes and huge brawls.
The court in the city of Utrecht was told about the gang's credo.
"The Bandidos characterize themselves as lawless and use slogans that contain violent messages. The club has a culture in which carrying out serious violence is encouraged. A ban is therefore necessary in order to protect society," said a prosecutor.
The court was told the gang members stitched special "Expect No Mercy" patches to their leather jackets after being awarded them if they took part in violent brawls with other bikers or other individuals.
There are more than 200 Bandidos chapters around the world, including in the UK, and an estimated 2,500 members.
Several Bandido members have been prosecuted in Germany and the United States and in Australia attempts have been made to ban all such groups, which are known as bikie gangs.