A clubhouse that once belonged to a Vancouver Island chapter of the Hells Angels is being demolished, just weeks after a court ruling confirmed the B.C. government has the right to seize the property.
Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, says in a statement that the clubhouse in Nanaimo is coming down immediately.
He says the demolition is “only the beginning,” and “puts organized crime on notice” that criminals cannot profit from their activities.
A Supreme Court of Canada ruling issued last month upheld a B.C. court’s decision finding an “inescapable” inference that the Nanaimo clubhouse and other Hells Angels properties in Kelowna and east Vancouver were used for criminal activity.
The ruling ended a legal battle that stretched more than a decade and confirmed B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office could seize the clubhouses as proceeds of crime.
The east Vancouver clubhouse is valued at $1.52 million, the Kelowna property is assessed at close to $1.3 million, while the Nanaimo property is valued at $300,000.
Farnworth says the office is now in legal possession of all three properties.
“Government will continue to protect British Columbians and take action against organized crime by seizing illegally obtained assets, brick-by-brick, we will demolish organized crime and those that profit from it,” Farnworth said in the statement.
He did not say why the Civil Forfeiture Office had decided to level the Nanaimo club.