International

Dozens of Hells Angels arrested in Portugal

Portugese police on Wednesday arrested 56 Hells Angels members on charges ranging from attempted murder to pimping, an official said.

56 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, like this group pictured in Germany in September 2017, were arrested in Portugal after a months-long police investigation
56 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, like this group pictured in Germany in September 2017, were arrested in Portugal after a months-long police investigation (AFP)

Portugese police on Wednesday arrested 56 Hells Angels members on charges ranging from attempted murder to pimping, an official said.

The arrests were part of a massive operation to dismantle the "violent criminal organisation" ahead of a motorbike rally in the south of the country next week.

The men, aged between 30 and 50 years-old, are also accused of aggravated violence, extortion, drugs and weapons trafficking, said Manuela Santos, a spokeswoman for the national counter-terrorism unit.

Four Germans and a Finn were among those arrested, while international warrants have also been issued for some Portugese residents living abroad.

A police investigation escalated in March after a violent attack by nearly 100 Hells Angels against a rival group in the suburbs of Lisbon.

More than 400 police officers were involved in the arrest operation which was launched to avoid a new confrontation at the annual Faro motorcycle rally in southern Portugal between 19 and 22 July.

Known for their Harley Davidson motorcycles and leather outfits, the Hells Angels were founded in the United States in 1948 and have branches in some 50 countries.