On 18th of September, 2004, a large group of bikers from many parts of Finland, got together for a cerenomy at the Hietaniemi cementary in Helsinki. The reason for the gathering, was the donation of a check of 40000 euros to the War Veteran Organization of Finland. A wreath was placed at the memorial for the fallen of World War Two. The check was presented to representives of the veterans. Words were spoken and pictures were taken. During it all the police was present, inside as well at outside the cementary. Was it because of among the many bikers, members of Bandidos mc Finland and Hells Angels mc Finland were present? Was it because of the history of these two clubs, a history at times very violent, which is the reason the police always keeps an eye on these clubs?
The following is about motorcycle clubs in Finland. Motorcycle clubs which are regarded as Outlaw Bikers and one percenters. Motorcycle clubs whose members are on and off, in conflict with the law.
Like many times before, it all started when a local mc-club decided to become Finland’s first Hells Angels chapter. Overkill mc from Helsinki, made contact with the Hells Angels in Denmark in the early 90’es. The right impression must have been made, because in 1992 Overkill mc became a Hells Angels hangaround club, the first step on the way to full membership. Whatever Overkill mc did to prove their worthiness, other mc-clubs might not have liked it.
Because in the very beginning of 1993, Overkill mc members lost a fight against Iron Hog mc members. If Overkill mc wanted to join the Hells Angels, they had to be number one, and no other mc-clubs were allowed to challenge that position. On 9th of February, 1993, the president of Iron Hog mc was beaten up as revenge for the earlier fight.
On 3rd of March, 1993, the police conducted a razzia of Overkill mc’s clubhouse. Using an armoured personal carrier to break through the metal fence and a helicopter to light up the area, it was a night operation, the police arrested several members, shot a club dog during the operation, and whatever the police wanted it or not, the newspapers had a new exciting subject to write about. From now on, Overkill mc was famous, or rather imfamous.
The attention from the police, was something not every member could handle. In October, 1993, when the sentences were given in the case of the beating of Iron Hog’s president, of the four people involved, two had left Overkill mc. The ones who participated in the beating got one year and four months, the driver got half a year suspended sentence.
On the other hand, being a Hells Angels member means, among many things, to never give up. So Overkill mc sued the police for damages to the club house, which ended in no compensation for the club in October, 1994. Also in October, 1994, the Higher Court of Helsinki confirmed the sentences of 1993. Besides that, Overkill mc were going in the right direction. By spring, 1994, they had achieved the staus of prospect club, and could now call themselves MC Finland.
But it wasn’t everybody who liked what was going on. Marko Hirsma left Overkill mc to go his own ways. Around autumn, 1994, he had started up a new club, Undertakers mc, with the purpose of joining Bandidos mc. One of the members of Undertakers mc was Sami L, an ex-member of Cockroach mc, who in the early 90’es went to prison for taking another mans live. It was a case about financial compensation for a damaged motorcycle. Threats had been made, nerves were more than shaky, and it all ended with a young man shot to death.
That case didn’t make big headlines. But in 1994 another murder involving members of motorcycle clubs, would get more than its fair share of headlines. On 22nd of June, Klan mc’s president, Kari Korpi, was shot and killed by Barley mc’s president, Juha Nousiainen, during a fight. During the following trial, it never became clear what the fight had been about. Why Juha Nousiainen had been threaten by Kari Korpi and then had to be armed with a gun, according to Nousiainen. But in the end, Juha Nousiainen got on 22nd of September nine years. What caught the attention of the police, was the presence of two MC Finland members, when Juha Nousiainen got his sentence. The police regarded Barley mc as a supporter club for MC Finland.
Undertakers mc was now up and running, and it was time to present the club to the world. Besides being a biker, Marko Hirsma was also playing and singing in the one and only Finnish biker band, the Backsliders. On 22nd of October, 1994, Backsliders would perform for the very last time at the Tavastia club, during a party arranged by Kopteri, Finlands leading magazine when it came to HD and English bikes. During the show, Marko announced to the audience , that Undertakers mc was now part of the Finnish biker scene. MC Finland members were present, and it is easy to understand that they were not too happy. They were doing their best to become the leading mc-club in Finland. Then Marko leaves, starts up another club and are going to bring the competition to Finland, in this case Bandidos mc. No wonder they were angry. That evening, in Tavastia, the first shots were fired in the war between Hells Angels and Bandidos. No one were hurt, and because of that, it didn’t make big news, but from now on, there would be no way back.
Ever since the police raided Overkill mc’s clubhouse, they had kept an eye on them. At the end of 1994 the police visited once more the clubhouse, looking for weapons, and found them. Weapons and bulletproof vests, would be something Overkill and Undertaker members would be using a lot of in the future.
In January, 1995, Undertakes mc became hangaround club in the Bandido Nation, and soon they would have to prove if they were up to it.
On 1st of April, 1995, there is an exchange of shots between Undertakers mc’s and Cannonball mc’s members, in a Helsinki bar. A member of Cannonball mc is wounded. Cannonball mc is at this time a supporter club for Overkill mc. They would stand side by side with Overkill mc, in the coming struggle against Undertakers mc, which was about to heat up.
On 17th of July, 1995, Mikael ”Joe” Ljunggren, Bandidos mc Sweden’s president, is shot and killed on a highway in Sweden, while riding his harley back from a visit to Undertakers mc in Helsinki. A spectacular funeral took place for ”Joe”, and plans for revenge were allready taking place.
On 26th of July, 1995, an anti-tank rocket, stolen from a Swedish army depot, is shot at MC Finland’s clubhouse. It goes through the walls, and does not exploded on impact. Three days later MC Finland has a bike show as planned, because as their spokesman said, ”APC’s. Rockets. Nothing’s gonna stop us”.
It is now the turn of Undertakers mc, to be payed a visit by the police. On the 1st of August, 1995, the police turn Undertakers mc’s clubhouse upside down. The police are sure Undertakers mc are behind the rocket attack, but still no arrest are made. Later in August, a MC Finland member is beaten up and loses his club vest. It turns out it was Undertakers mc who was behind it, because at a later police razzia of Undertakers mc’s clubhouse, the vest was found and returned to its owner. August is also the month, were Undertakers mc became Bandidos mc Probationary chapter. And it was as Bandidos probationary, two members got arrested for the rocket attack.
On 2nd of September, 1995, Kai Tapio Blom and Antti Tapani Vaaja admits to the rocket attack on MC Finland’s clubhouse. Bandidos loses their clubhouse, and will for a while be homeless.
On 27th of September, 1995, the trial against Kai Tapio Blom and Antti Tapani Vaaja starts. When members of Bandidos arrives at the courthouse to attend the trial, they are immediately attacked and beaten up by members of MC Finland and Cannonball mc. It went so fast so that the few police present, can’t prevent fists to fly and blood to be spilled. During the rest of the trial, during October, there would be plenty of police present, but even more of Bandidos’ members from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. There wouldn’t be any problems during the rest of the trial, which ends on 27th of October, with six years for Kai Tapio Blom, and four and a half year for Antti Tapani Vaaja.
While the trial was going on, a tattoo shop in downtown Helsinki, partly owned by MC Finland, was completely destroyed by four men. MC Finland were payed another visit by the police, and tried one more time to get compensation for damages to the clubhouse from back in 1993. This time they succeed in getting 13000 mrk in compensation.
1995 finished off with yet another police razzia. This time it was Cannonball mc’s turn. A member was suspected of rape. Also, Cannonball mc’s president got away with a suspended sentence of 11 months, for possesion of drugs and a pistol.
1996 would be a year full of incidents, arrest and sentences, and it started right away. But first Bandidos mc Probatonary got a new clubhouse, in downtown Helsinki, and to this day Bandidos mc’s Helsinki chapter is also know as the Downtown chapter. That was celebrated with a big housewarming party on 9th of March, the same weekend as there was Tattoo convention in Helsinki. The Tattoo convention was attended by Hells Angels members from different parts of Europe, so there were more police in the streets of Helsinki, than during a usual weekend. The reason was also because there had been a lot of violence involving the mc-clubs.
On 11th of February, 1996, two bombs went off. One at a bar, owned by MC Finland, another at a warehouse, which was the wrong target. It was believed a warehouse next to it, connected to MC Finland, was the intended target. Later in February the police stopped a car with MC Finland members, they were armed to the teeth with guns and hand grenades. The police was sure MC Finland was out to get revenge, for the many attacks on them and their properties.
1st of March, 1996, it happened. A Bandido probationary member and a prospect, went out in front of their clubhouse to check what was going on. People believed to be connected to MC Finland, were suspected of watching their clubhouse. A shootout started in the middle of the street, and the Bandido member and the prospect were wounded. Bandidos’ vice president, Jarkko Kokko, was badly wounded, and would on 17th of March pass away from complications of the wounds. The next day, Ilkka Tapio Ukkonen, wanted for the murder, turned himself over to the police. On 23rd of March, 1996, MC Finland gets their full colors, and are now Hells Angels MC Finland Helsinki. The new members could now proudly wear the red and white Viking badge, on the front of their vests. A badge given only to the first Hells Angels members in a Scandinavian contries.
Besides losing their vice president, whose funeral was attended by bikers from as far away as England, Bandidos also lost their second clubhouse.
On the other hand, MC Finland got a new clubhouse, just before they became full Hells Angels chapter. They also had another supporter mc-club, who made headlines in the news. Backwoods mc North, from Kajaani in the very north of Finland, had been running an illegal bar. A member of the club was also an officer in the Finnish Army, but not for long, after the Army found out what he was involved in. In September, 1996, members of the club was fined for the illegal bar activities. Backwoods mc North became Hells Angels mc Finland Kajaani in December, 1998.
Cannonball mc, who had supported Overkill from the very beginning, was also getting promoted. By April, 1996, they were prospect members, calling themselves MC Finland. A few months later, in July, they resigned from the Hells Angels, and continued as Cannonball mc. There was a lot of speculation about the reason for the resignation, and one reason might have been that Cannonball mc believed they would get their own Hells Angels chapter, and not have to join the Helsinki chapter. Anyway, a year later, Cannonball mc would have chapters in Helsinki, Turku, Kouvola and Lahti.
Ilkka Tapio Ukkonen and Jussi Taisto Pentinen, prospect members in Hells Angels Finland, went on trial for the murder of Jarkko Kokko. On 7th of June, 1996, Ilkka Tapio Ukkonen got 12 ½ years, and Jussi Taisto Pentinen got six years. Years later, now a Hells Angels member, Ilkka Tapio Ukkonen would be in the Hells Angels’ Scandinavian calender, with a black and white Filthy Few badge on the front of his vest. In Scandinavia, the only members of Hells Angels with this badge, are members who has been sentenced for murder.
But the war was not over yet. Just because the person who pulled the trigger ended up in prison, Bandidos still wanted revenge. On 12th of May, 1996, an unexpolded bomb was found at Hells Angels’ clubhouse. A week later an attempt to bomb the clubhouse again fails, when the perpetrators, not members of Bandidos and being very drunk, blows themselves up when trying to throw the bomb at the clubhouse. They got badly wounded, but survived. Again the police knows where to look for the people behind the attack, and in June Bandidos’ president and secretary are arrested. In July they were sentenced to prison, less than a year for both of them.
On 29th of June, 1996, during Puisto Blues, an international blues/rock festival north of Helsinki, members of Bandidos and Hells Angels would have their last public fight. No one knew it at that time, but the war in Finland was about to slow down, because a lot of the members were ending up in prison. In prison is were the fighting would continue, at least for a while. In July there is a fight between Bandidos and Hells Angels members, and in November there is fight between Bandidos members and other prisoners, where Bandidos president, Marko Hirsma is badly wounded.
While the Bandidos were recovering from their wounds, they could take comfort in that on 5th of October, 1996, Bandidos mc Probationary became Bandidos mc Finland. Allready during the time when they were Bandidos mc Probationary, the original members had been wearing a badge worn on the front of the vest, Axemen, inspired by the axe badge of Undertakers mc.
1997 would be a quiet year in Finland, when it came to incidents between the mc-clubs. They would still make news, but not because of shootouts and funerals.
In April and May, 1997, in all 6 members of Hells Angels mc Finland, got fines for the fight at the courthouse in September, 1995.
In June, 1997, Marko Hirsma, president of Bandidos mc Finland got married. It was a big event with a run through the city of Helsinki, involving a lot of bikers. Some questions were raised about how was it possible for all the Bandidos members who were in prison, to all get leave at the same time.
Because of the very violent incidents in Norway and Denmark, related to the conflict between Bandidos and Hells Angels, there was also in Finland talk about banning the mc-clubs. That in the end came to nothing.
On 25th of September, 1997, peace was declared between Bandidos and Hells Angels, in Danish TV news. The peace was for all of Scandinavia, and was in Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish TV news the same evening.
It was confirmed in Finland on 14th of October, 1997, when members of Bandidos mc Finland and Hells Angels mc Finland, had pictures taken of them together in front of the Finnish parliament.
For some peace would be heaven, for others it would be hell.
To be continued...