Page last updated at 22:15 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 23:15 UK

Hell's Angels crackdown in Canada


About 150 people have been arrested in a major police crackdown on the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang in Canada.

Some 1,200 police officers were involved in the operation. Suspects were also detained in France and the Dominican Republic.

The suspects were picked up as a result of Operation Shark, the culmination of three years' police work.

The arrests relate to alleged murders and drug crimes that occurred between 1992 and 2009.

In that period, the Hell's Angels "biker war" with another Canadian gang, the Rock Machine, peaked.

Of the 156 people the police say have been arrested, 111 are apparently active - so-called "full patch" members of the Hell's Angels.

'Nowhere to hide'

For decades, Canadian police have contended that members of the biker gang have been involved in alleged criminal and drug activities, organised crime and widespread violence, says the BBC's Lee Carter in Toronto.

No matter where they hide, criminals can be arrested
Inspector Richard Emery
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Most of the arrests were made in the Montreal area of Quebec.

But police said the fact that some were also carried out in France and the Dominican Republic showed they were sending a strong message to criminal organisations.

"We can go beyond the borders of our country to stop the perpetrators of criminal activity in Canada," said Inspector Richard Emery from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"No matter where they hide, criminals can be arrested."

Police say the goal is to put an end to the criminal activities of the Hell's Angels.

But similar assurances were made after a series of similar raids in Quebec in 2001, our correspondent says.

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