Police say an outlaw biker gang with close ties to the Hells Angels has established itself in Nova Scotia.
Eight members of the East Coast Riders were "patched over" by the Bacchus motorcycle club Saturday night at the Bacchus main clubhouse in Albert County, N.B.
The new "1%" crest hasn't been seen in Nova Scotia since the Hells Angels chapter folded in 2003 after a series of police raids that put most of its members in prison.
Insp. Greg Laturnus, with the RCMP Intelligence Unit, said the 1% designation is an open claim of outlaw status among bike gangs.
"We have a national strategy to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs, and certainly the Bacchus motorcycle club is considered an outlaw motorcycle gang," Laturnus told CBC News.
But Paul Fowler, a new Bacchus Nova Scotia club member, disputes that, saying members have families and jobs.
"We are far from organized. And we're not a crime group neither," said Fowler.
"In our mind, the true meaning of the 1% is that we are the one per cent that doesn't fit in with the other 99 per cent of society, for whatever reason. You know, we like to do things our own way. We like to hang out together, ride motorcycles and party."
Bacchus is one of Canada's oldest biker clubs, with longtime links to the Hells Angels. Its members have been arrested in raids involving the Angels, and the club is respected in the outlaw biker world.
Members of the East Coast Riders never wore a 1% crest. The clubhouse in Waverley, near Halifax, is for sale as Bacchus looks for something new.
Cpl. Steve MacQueen, head of the RCMP's outlaw motorcycle gang unit, said the takeover came after two Hells Angels rival clubs, the Outlaws and the Rock Machine, showed interest in establishing chapters in Nova Scotia.
Fowler agrees that being in a club like Bacchus will deter other groups. However, he said that's not why he and other members made the move.
"I don't think we have the ability to prevent other clubs from opening and doing their thing. We're just saying that we are here, this club's been around for 38 years or so and we're gonna continue hanging around together and being brothers," said Fowler.
The new Bacchus patch may go unnoticed by most Nova Scotians, but police said people in the criminal underworld have already noted its presence in the province.