The Hells Angels have chosen Beachclub as a place to show their colours and there’s little the club’s ownership can do about it, Quebec’s liquor board heard on Thursday.
“They choose where they wear their vests (and patches),” Sûreté du Québec investigator Alain Belleau testified during hearings before the board.
“And they won’t tolerate anyone standing up to them,” Belleau added. “So there’s a risk there: It becomes difficult for security to intervene because they don’t want to confront them.”
The popular Montreal-area outdoor club is before Quebec’s Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux this week after the local police department flagged several safety concerns.
Among them was that police documented members of organized crime — including the Hells Angels — at the Pointe-Calumet club a dozen times between 2016 and 2018.
The club has a policy barring members from wearing their vests and patches on the premises, but the policy is rarely, if ever, enforced. Belleau testified Thursday that owner Dominique Primeau has told authorities he feels he has no choice but to “tolerate” them.
But Belleau also noted the problem isn’t unique to Beachclub.
Though many bars and clubs in Quebec have similar policies in place, he said it’s almost impossible to enforce: any owner who stands up to the biker gang is opening themselves up to retaliation, he said, including firebombings or physical intimidation.
He said owners looking to enforce the rule could, in theory, call the police for help. But he has never heard of that happening.
“We know owners are sometimes stuck in these situations,” Belleau said. “We know how difficult it can be for them.”
Belleau said police have witnessed Hells Angels members from Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia at the club. They’ve been seen wearing their patches inside the club and outside in the parking lot.
Though police have repeatedly been called there for instances of violence, Belleau said to his knowledge none of those cases were linked to the Hells Angels.
When one of the administrative judges hearing the case asked him whether an average Quebecer would recognize that someone was wearing a Hells Angels patch inside the club, Belleau answered without hesitation.
“In Quebec, with their history, with the biker war, the media coverage, the SharQc trial, everyone knows the Hells Angels logo,” he said.
After hearing the case this week, the Régie could either suspend or revoke Beachclub’s permits, fine its owners or order corrective measures.
The Régie has already heard the club is straining emergency services in the area: there are frequent noise complaints, police calls and first responders needed for people found unconscious, convulsing or in crisis because of drugs. A 21-year-old drowned at the club in 2015.
On Wednesday, two undercover police officers testified to how easy it was for them to buy drugs there.
Later Thursday, Beachclub called its first witness in the case.
Éric Latendresse, a medical supervisor at the club, said when it’s at capacity — which the club says is roughly 10,000 people — there are 12 lifeguards on site, eight first-aid workers, and six outreach and prevention workers.
Asked if he felt there is too much alcohol and drug consumption, Latendresse said people do occasionally get carried away.
But given the staff on hand, he said, “it’s a problem that can be managed well.”
The hearings continue Friday at the Montreal courthouse.
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Source: Montreal Gazette