Inside the Mongols: Qld’s baddest bikie gang
They have been established in Australia for only seven years but already the Mongols have become one of the nation's baddest bikie gangs, with a powerful Queensland presence.
Taking their name from the Mongols empire led by the brutal Ghengis Khan, whose horseback warriors cut a swath through Eurasia in the 1200s, the outlaw motorcycle club was founded in southern California in 1969 as a Hispanic rival to the Hells Angels.
"Small in numbers but with a lot of heart, they dominated and decimated their enemies," the gang says on its website.
"Hence the Mongols name that we now wear proudly on our backs, but the difference is we ride iron horses."
Internationally, the Mongols have a long history of involvement in crimes including murder, assault, extortion, robbery and drug trafficking, although the club's US president, 'Lil Dave' Santillan has denied the gang is a criminal enterprise.
The Mongols formed clubs in 14 American states and chapters in 10 countries, including Australia.
Many members of the homegrown Finks bikie gang, which was formed in Adelaide in 1969, 'patched' over to the Mongols when the international gang spread its tentacles Down Under in 2013.
They included prominent Gold Coast bikies such as Finks 'Terror Team' members Nick 'The Knife' Forbes and Shane Bowden, who was shot dead by hooded gunmen in an execution-style slaying in the driveway of his Pimpama home last Sunday.
Bowden recently rejoined the Finks after being booted out of the Mongols, and was believed to have been recruiting members for his old club around Beenleigh.
Police believe Bowden was targeted after a bitter falling out with the Mongols in Melbourne - with reports he was also moving with members of the equally notorious Comanchero gang - but have hosed down fears of an inter-gang bikie war. There's no suggestion Forbes was involved in Bowden's death.
In February this year, as part of a 'national day of action' targeting the Mongols, police from Queensland's Organised Crime Gangs Group raided several addresses on the Gold Coast and arrested eight gang members and associates.
Police said they located weapons including knuckledusters, dangerous drugs and cash in the raids, along with three Harley Davidsons suspected of having been stolen.
"These gangs, including the Mongols, prey on our community through their involvement in the illicit drug market, violence and their motivations of profit and greed," Gangs Group commander, Detective Superintendent Lowe, said at the time.
"These gangs are not motorcycle enthusiasts and that myth is no longer believed by the communities impacted by their brutality and crime. We will make every effort to ensure their criminal activities are not expanded."
Originally published as Inside the Mongols: Qld's baddest bikie gang