An Australian state said on Tuesday it would ban motorcycle gangs such as the Hells Angels and the Bandidos in what the government said would be the world's toughest crackdown on "terrorists within our community."
South Australian Premier Mike Rann named eight biker gangs he said were involved in murder, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion and weapons smuggling.
"This is an evil within our nation and we in South Australia intend to lead Australia in the fight against bikie gangs," Mr. Rann told reporters.
Gangs targeted by the ban would include the Finks, the Rebels, the Gypsy Jokers, the Descendants, the Red Devils and the Mob Shitters.
"Someone's got to take the risk," state Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said, dismissing fears that the ban would spark a violent war between police and outlaw gang members.
"All of us, from the premier down, the police and the director of public prosecutions have to put ourselves on the line in this struggle," he said.
Motorcycle gangs have clashed with police in several Australian states. In May, authorities in New South Wales, including Sydney, began a crackdown on members said to be behind firebombings, drug supply, money laundering and bribery.
The Australian Crime Commission's 2006 report found there were 35 outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia, with 3,500 members. It said 10 gangs had opened 26 new chapters in all six states last year.
Police have blamed club defections for escalating violence including drive-by shootings at Sydney nightclubs, the firebombing of a Bandidos chapter, and shots fired into the tattoo shop of the Nomads national president.
In June, a Hells Angels member shot dead a man in central Melbourne and earlier this month police were called to the Perth compound of the Coffin Cheaters after two explosions and a subsequent fire caused extensive damage.
Mr. Rann said the ban would involve around 200 gang members, as well as associates. Outlawed gang members would be prohibited from meeting or communicating, or risk five-year jail terms.
"These people are terrorists within our community. We cannot find anywhere in the world where this level of response to bikie gangs has been taken," he said.
Police would also be empowered to dismantle gang headquarters and force members to account for any unexplained wealth or income.
"We are coming after them and we will hit them where it hurts by taking away their ill-gotten gains, their Harley-Davidsons and their liberty," Mr. Atkinson said.