New Brunswick

Saint John police monitor Bacchus biker meeting

Police monitored the Bacchus motorcycle club meeting at the Colonial Inn in Saint John, N.B., this weekend.

Police monitored the Bacchus motorcycle club meeting at the Colonial Inn in Saint John, N.B., this weekend.

The gathering, which drew about 100 bikers from around the Maritimes, ran over the course of two nights, with bikers taking up more than half the Inn's rooms.

Criminal Intelligence Service Canada considers Bacchus an outlaw motorcycle gang.

Going into the weekend, Saint John police Chief Bill Reid said he was sure Bacchus members would be talking about things they did not want the police to know about.

The Bacchus members wound up the club's annual conference Sunday morning. Like the Hells Angels, members are known to wear a one per cent symbol, which is said to indicate they relate to the one per cent of society: those who are outlaws.

One member, wearing a leather jacket with a one per cent symbol stitched onto it, said the conference was all about fun and nothing else.

Mostofa Iqbal runs the Colonial Inn. He said he'd gladly play host to the club's annual conference in the future.

"There was not even as much drinking as there's supposed to be or as people perceive to be. I kind of feel that public perception is probably overly-exaggerated in a way."

Despite the gang's reputation, Iqbal said he had no concerns for safety.

"My children stay here and we were all comfortable with everything. There was no deeds that could be condemned in any way: social, politically or in any way, that we notice."

The perception that the group is seen as a gang  (the members prefer club) doesn't sit well with a member, who said the public shouldn't be worried. In fact, he said the only people concerned about their presence were law enforcement.

RCMP intelligence officers, who monitor the club, say membership and influence are growing, along with illegal activity.