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4 nations join to fight biker gangs

Police officials from four nations agreed Friday to cooperate more with each other in battling the global spread of criminal motorcycle gangs.

A two-day meeting, held in closed-door sessions, drew participants from the United States, Australia, Denmark and Canada.At a closing news conference, Jens Henrik Hojbjerg of the Danish national police, explained how his country dealt with a vicious motorcycle gang war that has raged for two years in the Nordic region.

Hojbjerg said politicians, police and the courts had realized they must work together, resulting in convictions of more than 120 gang members.

"Right now we have created an environment where it is possible to combat the outlaw gangs," Hojbjerg said. "We have a good balance between the legislative level, the administrative level, the operational level and the police tactical level."

Theodore Royster of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said motorcycle gangs, like other organized crime, are becoming more global in operation. Gangs from different countries share information and coordinate activities, he said.

Julian Fantino, chief of police in London, Ontario, said Canada's battle against biker gangs is being hobbled by a bureaucratic court system and governments more interested in passing laws rather than giving police proper resources.

Fantino said the anti-biker-gang legislation passed by Ottawa earlier this year won't necessarily be effective. The legislation, passed last April, makes it a crime to participate in a criminal organization and gives police the power to seize the proceeds of organized crime.

"Just because we now have a law doesn't realize anything unless we have the support programs which means resources for police and enhanced training," Fantino said.

It was introduced to help police deal with a three-year war between two biker gangs in Quebec. The battle for control of the province's illegal drug trade has killed at least 48 people.