Toowoomba bikie boss lashes out at tough new laws
A TOOWOOMBA bikie boss has lashed out at tough new anti-gang laws for forcing club members into a life of crime.
Tony "Bones" Lowe is the president of Life and Death Motorcycle Club in Toowoomba.
After seven years' owning a tattoo studio in Gatton, this week he sold the business to his son.
New laws passed by Queensland Parliament are set to make working in a tattoo parlour off-limits to any member of an outlaw motorcycle gang.
Life and Death has made the 26-strong gang list, alongside the Bandidos, Finks and Hell's Angels, to name a few.
If "Bones" continued working as a tattooist after the laws had been enacted, he would face a mandatory six-month jail term.
"Three of my (members who are) truck drivers got fired… two miners were fired because their companies didn't want to be involved," he said.
"One of my workers today, who's in my club, said, 'If this goes through, I'm going to lose my house'.
"Is he forced to break the law to make money now?
"Is that what they want?"
Several Life and Death members have faced Toowoomba courts in recent months on drug-related offences.
"Bones" did not deny the fact, but said the indiscretions of a few members did not constitute a criminal organisation.
"Check my record," he said.
"I broke (the law) one day when I was 19 years old and that's it.
"That's my whole record.
"And like I said, I'm the president... so if you have to be a big lawbreaker to be in a bike club, that's bullsh*t, because I'm not."
He said he had been pulled over by police more than "five times a day" after the introduction of new rules saying any motorcyclist wearing a club patch must be questioned.
His members have been told to record all contact with police officers on camera phones to avoid being "victimised".
"We don't sell drugs, we don't stand over people's businesses or anything," he said.
"We're bikers - we ride bikes, we work on bikes, we have fun.
"People are playing up down at the Gold Coast and we're all getting victimised.
"We haven't got any affiliations with any clubs on the Gold Coast."
As a club office-bearer, "Bones" will face the harshest penalties possible under the new laws if he commits a serious crime - an extra 25 years on top of his initial sentence, compared to 15 years for members lower in the hierarchy.
He said violent stand-offs between bikies and police would be an inevitable result of the laws.
"Any person that's breaking the law, gets pulled up and is looking at 35 years… they're going to try get out of there," he said.