Security was beefed up at Tauranga courthouse yesterday as 13 patched Filthy Few gang members admitted their role in a weekend stand-off with rivals from the Greasy Dogs.
All 13 men who pleaded guilty in Tauranga District Court to a joint charge of unlawful assembly were bailed, and will be sentenced between February 21 and 23.
Unlawful assembly carries a maximum penalty of a year's imprisonment.
Four men are yet to plead to other charges including possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of an explosive, stemming from a police search of the Filthy Few gang pad in Birch Ave on Saturday night. Police are still seeking another Filthy Few member also alleged to be involved in the weekend confrontation.
Thirteen Greasy Dogs members also charged with unlawful assembly appeared in court yesterday and are yet to enter pleas.
Security guards checked bags and people as they entered the courthouse and there was a team of six police officers, including two stationed at the front door and others inside the courtroom, during the bail hearings.
Police were first alerted to the gang tensions about 11.30am on Saturday after the Filthy Few members, wearing gang patches, rode motorcycles into Matapihi - an area known to be occupied by Greasy Dogs members.
After the Filthy Few members became involved in an altercation with a patched Greasy Dogs member on the roadside, members of the public called police.
The Filthy Few members rode off but were stopped a short time later riding around Matapihi, and claimed they were "just cruising".
Police say about 3pm, about 20 Greasy Dogs members travelled to the Filthy Few gang pad at Birch Ave. An altercation followed between the two groups, during which some of the Filthy Few armed themselves with weapons including hammers, a spade and a baseball bat.
When police arrived, the Greasy Dogs members began dispersing but 13 were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. About 8.30pm, police searched the Filthy Few pad in relation to recovering weapons used earlier in the day.
When asked what sparked the altercation, one Filthy Few member told police he had been in the group riding through Matapihi when they were abused by somebody on the side of the road, and a verbal altercation followed.
He denied there was any physical altercation.
Following arguments over bail conditions, Community Magistrate Lesley Jensen banned some of the Filthy Few members from associating with each other. Those living at the Filthy Few headquarters were banned from associating with each other outside the gang pad, unless for work purposes.
An exception was made for four defendants who were related.
All 13 men were also barred from entering Matapihi Peninsula and going on Welcome Bay Rd, and banned from wearing gang regalia and having any contact with any police witnesses.
Twelve of the 13 Greasy Dogs members were remanded on similar bail conditions, but were banned from going to Birch Ave, while 28-year-old Cale Amokohe Kahotea, who is also facing unrelated charges, was remanded in custody after police opposed his bail.
The Greasy Dogs accused are next due in court on February 14.
Names and charges: Gang members in court
Filthy Few members who pleaded guilty to unlawful assembly:
* Lee Andrew Clark, 43, millworker, Judea.
* Gary Keleher, 50, tyre retreader, Bellevue.
* Kelven Keleher, 27, tyre retreader, Judea.
* Thomas Kevin McDonald, 28, landscaper gardener, Te Puke.
* Phillip John McFarlane, 30, sawmiller, Omanawa.
* Louis Gray-Morgan, 24, engineer, Judea.
* Jeffrey Bruce Pederson, 46, landscape gardener, Judea.
* Dennis Pederson, 53, body piercer, Bethlehem.
* Levi Phillips, 30, aluminium joiner, Whakamarama.
* Barry Charles Rogers, 50, landscaper gardener, Judea.
* Mark Geoffrey Treloar, 27, roofer, Judea.
* Ieni Raymond Thocolich, 45, unemployed, Judea.
* Carl Tremayne, 41, assembler, Judea.
* Donald, Jeffrey Pederson, Treloar, and Tremayne also face drug and/or firearm charges
Greasy Dogs members charged with unlawful assembly:
- Jack Koti Allen, 39, unemployed, Gate Pa.
* Thomas William Cooper, 44, Kairua.
* Christopher Justin Davie, 34, soldier, Maungatapu.
* Codie John Dickson, Papamoa Beach
* Tyrone Rangihoe Farrell, 30, Matapihi.
* Jesse Wiheti Fisher, 25, unemployed, Matapihi.
* Wehi Honiana, 41, Waitao.
* Cale Amokohe Kahotea, 28, labourer, Waitao.
* Jesse Marc Le Lievre, 22, plasterer, Kairua.
* Elvis Oti, 46, unemployed, Welcome Bay.
* Andrew James Quinn, 38, unemployed, Mount Maunganui.
* Marsh Maihi Taikato, 51, Welcome Bay.
* Maurice Te Barry Walker, 42, Welcome Bay.