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Peaceful angels

Peaceful angels
The war of the Scandinavian rockers
From Elke Wittich

After the rocker gangs Bandidos and Hell's Angels had fought bloody fights in Scandinavia for a total of twelve years, the time had finally come in 1997: after long negotiations under the leadership of the Danish lawyer Thorkild Høyer, during which Scandinavian leaders of both groups were also in Washington, where the international chiefs had been included in the talks, the conclusion of the peace negotiations could be announced live on the main news program on Danish television.
These arguments were not a question of motorcyclists' honor. "Motorcycle clubs are money printing machines" wrote the Norwegian Dagbladet as early as 1995, the war of the rockers was in reality a distribution battle for the Scandinavian sales market, where there is a lot of money to be made: alcohol is very expensive and you can only buy it in state shops. The primary goal of Scandinavian alcohol policy is not to sell as much goods as possible, but to prevent citizens from drinking.
The Bandidos and Hell's Angels each vehemently denied this theory in interviews and liked to portray themselves as victims of a Scandinavian police conspiracy and as individualists thirsting for freedom Book Hell's Angels. The protesters against the Vietnam War had already had this experience in 1965 - Hell's Angels had blown up their rally with shouts like "Communists!" And "Traitors!" The attacked were shocked, after all, the Angels had been seen as individualistic and revolutionary dropouts, and then that - 15,000 hippies were intimidated by a dozen rockers. Nevertheless, they continued to hope for the Angels as allies - Allen Ginsburg even wrote a poem To the Angels in which he asked them to be "Camrado, friend, lover" and to march at the next demonstration. The day before, however, the Angels announced at a press conference that they did not want to take part in these "un-American activities." At the same time, Angels President Barger read out a telegram to President Johnson in which he offered himself and his boys to volunteer in Vietnam. The younger members of Hell's Angels had also entered the heroin business in the mid-sixties.
The fact that the Scandinavian police have never discovered illegal goods apart from weapons in house searches is more evidence of their theory that the clubs are actually to be assigned to organized crime, drug and alcohol smuggling, extortion of protection money and prostitution - all at the moment hotly contested market. The Angels therefore saw their monopoly position threatened by competition from the Bandidos.
One of the main characters in the recent distribution battle was the Dane Michael Garcia "Lerche" Olson. Growing up in a wealthy family, things went badly wrong with a middle-class career. When a Danish division of the global motorcycle gang Hell's Angel was founded in 1979, Olson was one of the first members. Less than a year later he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the murder of a dropout, but this does not have to affect the Angels' career: after his release, he rose to club president.
In 1986, however, the Angels career came to an end again. There was no official reason, but apparently Lerche had embezzled money from illegal transactions and kept income from at least one Copenhagen brothel run by the rockers for himself. That meant the maximum penalty, dishonorable dismissal, called "bad stand": All items with the Hell's Angels symbol must be delivered immediately (the sale of these devotional items finances the Defense Fund, the defense fund for members who have committed criminal offenses), and relevant tattoos to change. It is also prohibited to remain in the biker environment and to drive a Harley Davidson. A residence ban for Copenhagen was added in Lerche's case.
In 1993, the small motorcycle club that Olson joined immediately after his expulsion became the Danish branch of the US parent club MC Bandidos - and massive competition for market leader Hell's Angels. Lerche quickly rose to become the so-called minister of war and also became the bodyguard of the club boss for all of Scandinavia. He did this last job, however, remarkably unsuccessfully: Michael "Joe" Lundgren was shot dead on a Swedish motorway in 1995 shortly after he had sent his bodyguard away.
Then Lark became the main target of the Angels attacks. In 1996 he narrowly escaped a submachine gun attack at Fornebu Airport in Oslo. Until then, Norway had been spared the clashes: While in Denmark and Sweden, as early as the early 1990s, Bandidos and Angels shot at each other with anti-tank missiles captured in raids on military depots, in Norway for a long time there were only arson attacks on those with barbed wire, floodlights and video surveillance expanded clubhouses. The situation there was a bit more confusing, because there were several gangs, all associated members of US parent clubs, facing each other: Hell's Angels and MC Norway, headquartered in Trondheim, on the one hand, and Bandidos and Outlaws, who controlled Oslo and the surrounding area , on the other hand.
In the spring of 1997, however, there was also the first death in Norway. In a bomb attack on the Drammener Klubheim, which was aimed at Lerche, a car driver who happened to be passing by was killed.
The Danish law prohibiting clubs from setting up their club houses in populated areas was subsequently also adopted in Norway. And Bandidos and Hell's Angels jointly ensured that the Norwegians discussed measures that they have always strictly rejected so far, such as telephone surveillance, which has only been used in serious cases, B. the national security was at stake, was allowed or witness protection programs that did not exist until then. With the peace that has now been concluded, the rockers have, above all, anticipated the impending ban on their clubs.
(In: Jungle, Berlin, July 10th, 1997)