FEARS are mounting of a brewing bikie war in Perth after a motorcyclist was shot in a drive-by attack following a recent string of tattoo parlour fire-bombings, prompting police to create a special taskforce.
Gang Crime Squad detectives are investigating the shooting in Calista on Tuesday night, which left the male victim, who is aged in his 50s, in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
A police spokeswoman told AAP the motorcyclist pulled over for an approaching car that he thought might have been driven by police, but was shot by the occupants.
Five tattoo shops have been deliberately torched between March and August, and police believe the fires are linked.
Earlier this month, the perimeter wall of a Waikiki house believed to be the home of a bikie club president was peppered with bullets.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson recently said that incident, combined with the fires, was a concern.
Mr Dawson said there was always tension between WA’s 12 bikie gangs, but a dispute between the Rebels and Comancheros was particularly worrying.
“We’re putting particular emphasis on those two gangs,” Mr Dawson told 6PR.
Not all tattoo parlous were bikie-connected but most were, he added.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, State Crime Acting Commander Kim Massam confirmed the victim had a “loose association” with a bikie gang but could not say if the Rebels or Comancheros were involved.
Acting Cmdr Massam said the shooting had prompted the creation of Operation Seagrass and raids were being executed in the city’s south as he spoke.
He said the aim of the operation was community safety and to put “people in jail”.
“We are very keen to see outlaw motorcycle gangs in Western Australia dismantled,” he said.
“Every waking hour is designed to bring those clubs down, to disrupt criminal activity.
“Tensions have escalated and we’ve reacted to that.”