Updated on March 22, 2014
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club has started a probationary chapter in the city of Sittard in the Netherlands. In the country where once the Hells Angels reigned supreme things have gotten pretty crowded in the past few years. The presence of the Bandidos is especially worrisome to police, though, as the two clubs have a bitter and violent rivalry in other parts of the world.
The Dutch Bandidos chapter is led by Harrie Ramakers, a man with a colorful and rich history in the Dutch outlaw biker scene. He was a full patch member of the Hells Angels’ Nomads chapter in Oirsbeek, which was disbanded after Ramakers and others, were indicted on charges that they murdered three of the chapter's members including their president. All men kept silent and were eventually acquitted.
After leaving the Hells Angels, Ramakers became a member of No Surrender MC, a new Dutch club that has been growing rapidly. But when Klaas Otto, the president of No Surrender, heard about a member of Ramakers' chapter who stole money from a disabled child he took away the chapter's colors.
Luckily for Ramakers, the Bandidos MC had been making several inroads into the Netherlands. It had made several Dutch members on the down-low and the time was ripe for a strong chapter. This past Saturday, Bandidos MC officially announced they had started a probationary chapter in Sittard. Ramakers will be its leader. Infamous Scandinavian Bandidos member Brian Sandberg posted a photo of himself and Ramakers on his Facebook account to congratulate his new brother.
Bandidos MC joins already established Dutch outlaw clubs such as No Surrender, Satudarah, and the Hells Angels. The past few years saw several incidents between the Hells Angels and Satudarah, but talk of an imminent war soon ebbed away as members of both clubs agreed to keep quiet.
With the arrival of the Bandidos, however, police fear the threat of a biker war has become realer than ever before. The two clubs have a notorious rivalry and its chapters have fought wars in many different countries, from North America to Europe.
It seems their fears are not that far-fetched.
Before the public had even heard about the Bandidos’ arrival, its brand new president was already under attack. On the night of March 15, unknown assailants shot up his house in Nieuwstadt in the Dutch province of Limburg. Ramakers was not home at the time of the attack.
Yesterday, around 100 Hells Angels from the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium invaded the city center of Sittard in a show of force and opposition against the Bandidos’ new Dutch chapter (video below). Things remained quiet during the biker club’s “protest” but it set the tone for things to come.
A week after the home of Bandidos chapter president Ramakers was shot up, it was again the scene of violence. On Friday night, March 21, an explosive detonated shattering windows of a car and home along the usually quiet street in Nieuwstadt. The city's mayor, Jos Hessels, has confirmed it was a gangland attack. He is extremely worried about future attacks.
Where the Dutch Hells Angels once were the premier motorcycle club in Western Europe they now face competition from various strong rivals. Among those an arch nemesis they have fought numerous times.
They’ve been riding hard for a long time. Has the time to die free arrived?
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