Three Hells Angels clubhouses in B.C. have been ordered turned over to the provincial government, but there are still a number of local headquarters for chapters of the biker gang, including one here in Langley.
The Court of Appeal ruling on Feb. 15 found that the Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Vancouver clubhouses have and will continue to enhance member’s ability to commit crime, while reducing the risk or detection. Justices Mary Newbury, Christopher Grauer, and Leonard Marchand granted the appeal.
The ruling was the culmination of more than a decade of investigations, pre-trial hearings, and a lengthy trial first trial that ended in a win for the Hells Angels in 2020, when a B.C. Supreme Court judge found that there was insufficient evidence that crimes committed by multiple club members were done at the direction of the Hells Angels, or that they were facilitated by the clubhouse.
The Court of Appeal judges disagreed, and their new ruling means the buildings and properties will be seized under B.C.’s civil forfeiture laws.
READ MORE: Hells Angels partied with strippers at Langley rec centre
Civil forfeiture allows the government to seize property – including land, cars, cash, and other goods – that is the profits of or facilitated criminal enterprises. The government only needs to prove their case under civil rules – which are more lenient than those in a criminal trial.
However, the investigations that led to the seizure of those clubhouses still leaves a number of long-established clubhouses of the biker gang in B.C.
For decades, Langley has been the headquarters of the White Rock chapter of the Hells Angels. The site, at 21764 61st Ave., on a five-acre rural lot near Milner, is owned by Hollyrock Holdings, which is in turn reportedly owned by a long-time Hells Angel member.
The site has been the location of some large Hells Angels gatherings through the years, including in July 2013, when hundreds of Hells Angels bikers from across the country arrived for a celebration of the White Rock chapter’s 30th anniversary. Police also came from across B.C. and beyond, to monitor the bikers.
This year will mark the chapter’s 40th anniversary, and the club is expected to throw a big party again, but it’s uncertain if the recent clubhouse seizures will impact that.
“We do anticipate there being a celebration,” said Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, spokesperson for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), which investigates organized crime groups and street gangs.
“I think the forfeitures have thrown a bit of a wrench in their plans.”
It’s unknown now if the celebration will happen at the clubhouse or at another venue.
As for whether the White Rock Chapter clubhouse could also be seized, Winpenny said that the three forfeitures that just took place were based on long-running investigations over years.
There have not been any announced investigations into the Langley-based chapter and its property.
The clubhouse site has rural zoning, like the neighbouring farm properties and greenhouses.
Other properties that have supported clubs and club gathering places in Langley tend to have commercial zoning – such as for the Royal Canadian Legion hall in Aldergrove – or P-1 institutional zoning, which allows “assembly uses.”
A former Elks Hall location on Old Yale Road near Murrayville still has the P-1 zoning.
According to a Township statement, however, under Agricultural Land Commission rules, property owners can host up to 10 events a year with no more than 150 people in attendance.
“No complaints, in reference to the subject property, have been received by the Township of Langley bylaws department or the RCMP,” the Township statement said. “Our process is a complaints-based model and provides anonymity for those who submit complaints.”
Only people within 500 metres of a property can complain about, for example, excessive noise, and they have to enter their name and contact information into the Township’s website to do so.
The Township statement noted that the RCMP could also file a bylaws complaint.
Bill Storie, the retired former head of bylaw enforcement, was asked to speak to the Langley Advance Times for the Township on the bylaw situation.
He noted that the current policy of complaint-driven bylaw procedures could be changed by the Township council.
However, he couldn’t remember the neighbours having any issues.
“They were happy when the Hells Angels took over that property,” Storie said of the neighbours. “They said it would be safer for the community.”
The Hells Angels don’t confine themselves to just their clubhouse. They’ve held large funerals for club members in local churches, with Haney chapter president Mike Hadden’s funeral taking place at Christian Life Assembly church in 2021.
The club also used to use Langley Township facilities for parties, booking events under other names at the George Preston Recreation Centre up until 2019, when Township staff complaints about strippers at the events were leaked.
READ MORE: Hells Angels clubhouses in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Vancouver seized by government
READ ALSO: Civil forfeiture claim filed for car owned by former Abbotsford gangster
On Oct. 16, 2016, senior Hells Angel member Robert Keith Green was shot and killed at his 72nd Avenue Langley property by Jason Francis Wallace, another Langley man with a record of violent crime.
Wallace quickly turned himself in to the police and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Eight days after Green was killed, the dismembered body of Shaun Alan Clary was found on the side of Robertson Crescent in rural Langley.
Both Clary and Wallace were said to have ties to the 856 gang, and investigators said the deaths of Green and Clary were likely connected, according to IHIT.
Several other Hells Angels members have been shot and killed around the Lower Mainland and the Interior during the past several years as well, believed to be linked to ongoing gang wars.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.