Violence between rival gangs is spreading outside the Bay of Plenty after a Christchurch tattoo parlour linked to international bikie gang the Mongols MC has been rammed by a stolen ute.
The blue ute was driven through the front of King of Ink on Linwood Ave, Linwood, about 4.20am on Friday, causing significant damage to the business.
It followed a suspected arson at Bristol Barbers on Wainoni Rd, Wainoni, about 45 minutes earlier.
It is unclear if the two incidents are linked. There is a heavy police presence at both scenes, Stuff is reporting.
The incidents come at a time when gang tensions in other parts of the country, particularly the Bay of Plenty, have reached boiling point.
The scene of the Hairini shooting. Image John Borren/SunLive.
The attack was thought to be in response to the arson of a Mongols-linked barber shop, Faded N Bladed.
The Faded N Bladed barber shop after the fire. Image Daniel Hines/SunLive.
Police are also investigating a gang-linked double homicide near Tauranga.
A 43-year- old and 32-year-old man were shot dead at a property in Ormsby Lane, Omanawa, on Tuesday.
The 43-year-old owned the property and the 32-year-old is allegedly linked to the Head Hunters gang.
On Thursday night, police shot dead a suspect in the killings after he fired at officers when they tried to stop a vehicle he was in.
The scene of the fatal shooting. Image: Daniel Hines/SunLive.
The apparent attack on the Christchurch tattoo parlour comes less than a month after senior members of the Mongols, including national president Jim Thacker, travelled to the city and started a new chapter of the gang.
Former members of the Hells Angels are involved with the chapter. A woman connected to one of those men is the owner of King of Ink Ltd, the company that owns the tattoo parlour. She declined to comment when approached today.
Nothing appeared to have been taken from either business, a police spokeswoman says.
The Mongols, whose patch depicts Genghis Khan on a motorcycle, was founded in the United States 50 years ago and describes itself as the "baddest and fastest growing club in the world".
The first New Zealand chapter of the gang was set up in the Bay of Plenty last year.
Jim, 28, a former president of a Bandidos chapter in Queensland, is among hundreds of hardened criminals, known as 501s, deported to New Zealand since 2014 changes to Australian immigration law.
The arrival of the 501s, named after the character section their visas were cancelled under, has radically changed New Zealand's gang landscape.
New groups, most notably the Comanchero MC and Mongols, have established and, according to police data, gang membership increased nearly 50 per cent in the four years to June last year.
The US-based Mongols are the self-proclaimed baddest bikie gang in the world. Image: Simon Alekna.
At the end of August, the national gang register carried the names of 71 of the 501s.
Police previously said many of the deported gang members were powerful and influential figures in the Australian underworld who brought with them professionalism, a new flashy image and significant international connections.
There were concerns the arrival of the new international gangs – known for their propensity for violence, particularly their use of guns – would lead to clashes as rival groups like the Mongrel Mob tried to protect their turf.
The Hells Angels' Christchurch-based branch, Quake City, recently disbanded.
The group moved out of its Maunsell St headquarters, which was later sold, in October last year.
In recent times, the Christchurch gang scene has been dominated by the King Cobras, Tribesmen and Mongrel Mob.
In 2017, police froze hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets belonging to the Head Hunters – then one of the major players in the city's underworld – including the gang's Sockburn headquarters.
Court proceedings in relation to that action are ongoing.