Police visit Hells Angels clubhouse – with property assessor
RCMP paid a visit to the East Vancouver chapter of the Hells Angels Tuesday afternoon – but it wasn't for a search or a raid.
Instead, they brought in a property assessor to determine the value of the suburban home the chapter uses as its clubhouse.
Under proceeds of crime legislation, a judge has granted a restraining order that allows police to temporally freeze the assets of the East Vancouver chapter.
"Under the authority of that restraining order we went in to establish the value of the property," explained RCMP Sgt. John Ward. "The restraining order ensures that the property is not changed in any way, that the ownership is not changed or mortgages or liens ... [are] not applied against it."
The restraining order stems from a police raid on the club last July. Forty-five Hells Angels and associates are still awaiting trial on various charges.
Canadian author Julian Sher, who has written extensively about the Hells Angels, says the clubhouse is an important symbol for the group.
"It's like raising their flag, putting their stamp on their territory," he says. "And the police, in effect, are trying to take it back."
Sher says police now have to prove in court that the clubhouse was bought with the proceeds of crime before they can legally take possession.
In a similar case in Halifax, police did eventually seize and sell off a Hells Angels clubhouse.