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Monday, 30 June 2008

Patched Mongrel Mob members from Christchurch and one from Dunedin were arrested yesterday

11:22 |

Two patched Mongrel Mob members from Christchurch and one from Dunedin were arrested yesterday, confirming reports that reinforcements from further north had arrived in the city, but police said tensions between the Mob's Invercargill chapter and the Road Knights had eased off after reaching boiling point last week.An Invercargill Mob member was also arrested yesterday and appeared in the Invercargill District Court on charges of possessing an offensive weapon and resisting police, while one of the Christchurch members also appeared on a resisting charge.Police maintained a security vigil around the court as six people believed to be connected to the Road Knights appeared on charges unrelated to the tensions.The side entrance to the court was locked, as it had been each time gang members appeared this week, with every person entering the court searched and scanned by a metal detector.Apart from a single drive-by in Don St by four patched Mob members in a Ford Falcon, and a couple of members outside the court, who told The Southland Times they were "waiting for a bro", there was little sign of the tension in the city during the past week.Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Cowie, of Invercargill CIB, said while the feud had appeared to ease, police were aware it could just be a calm before the storm.
"It's quietening down, but we have to be realistic based on history (between both gangs) and we need to keep a high profile." At least 10 officers from Dunedin had been drafted to help during the weekend, and police would maintain a high profile, he said.However, police did not know what had led to the stoush between the gangs, he said. "There has been no leadup ... there's nothing that we can see, but they don't just go and burn down a pad without there being something." Despite suggestions of gang members en route to Invercargill, including a report of 30 boarding an inter-island ferry in Wellington on Tuesday, police had yet to see any gang members in the south from north of Christchurch, Mr Cowie said.Southland area commander Inspector Tony O'Neill said police had brought in extra staff to boost resources after the fires and would maintain that presence in a bid to "take the heat out of the situation".A feud between the gang factions was sparked last week after the Road Knights' Balmoral Dr headquarters was razed. Two motorbikes belonging to the gang were allegedly stolen by senior Mongrel Mob members and later torched.
Several days later a property in front of the Mongrel Mob headquarters in Severn St was burned down last Saturday night in what police dubbed a possible "revenge attack". However, the property owner said this week the only link with the Invercargill gang was the location of the house.

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