South Australia’s anti-gang laws may apply to cults

Parts of South Australia’s anti-bikie laws could be used against cults like the Agape Ministries group, South Australian police commissioner Mal Hyde says.

Two people have been arrested and charged with firearms offences after police raided properties connected with the religious group, where offices seized explosives, guns and 80,000 rounds of ammunition.

Mr Hyde described the amount of ammunition which was found hidden inside bed frames and in shipping containers, as extraordinary.

He said it might be possible for aspects of the anti-gang laws, which relate to criminal organisations, to apply.

“People were concerned that the legislation was designed to target only bikies but we’ve always said it should be targeted at organised crime and dealing with crime, whether or not they ride a bike,” Mr Hyde told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“So parts of it could be relevant and there’s one component which allows for a declaration to be made for a criminal organisation.

“How it might ultimately work out and whether it applies in a situation like the Agape cult, time will tell.

“But there’s a potential there. You would have to find substantial evidence of criminal behaviour to support any application for a declaration.

“It certainly wouldn’t happen overnight.”

– Source / Full Story: SA bikie laws may apply to cults, AAP via the Sydney Morning Herald, May 25, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

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This post was last updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 2:14 PM, Central European Time (CET)