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'Anonymous' targets Australian politician over biker laws

A person claiming to speak for activist hacker group Anonymous in a video circulated online on November 1, 2013. AFP PHOTOROSLAN RAHMAN

SYDNEY: An Australian politician Monday dubbed activist group Anonymous "gutless cowards" after they warned Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to "expect us" over new laws aimed at biker gangs.

In a clip posted on YouTube by a masked person claiming to represent Anonymous Australia, Newman is singled out over the anti-gang legislation, which the speaker said could be used against anybody and was unconstitutional.

Motorcycle gangs linked to organised crime are an increasing problem across Australia and under the laws passed by Queensland state last month gang members could have an extra 15 years added to any jail sentence.

"Premier Campbell Newman has gone too far. It breaches our very human rights, liberties and our Australian constitution," said the masked man in the video which has been viewed more than 197,000 times since it was posted on Thursday.

"The creeping fascism has already begun and the bill is already being used against everyday people like you and me.

"Campbell Newman expect us."

Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey said police were investigating the clip.

"Obviously they are just gutless cowards -- they have to hide behind a mask," he said.

Newman said activists against the laws were in the minority, with most Queenslanders supporting the anti-biker legislation, as he refused to back down.

"These laws stand. They are not changing because we are determined to deal with criminal gangs," he told reporters.

His comments came with police also reportedly investigating how his home address and he and his wife's mobile phone numbers were circulated on social media over the weekend.

Reports said Newman and his wife received confrontational phone calls as a result.

Last month it was revealed that threats had been made against Queensland's Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie since the laws were passed, but authorities have not elaborated on how these were conveyed.

Under the new laws, if offences are committed as part of a criminal organisation, perpetrators found guilty will face being sent a bikers-only prison with no gym facilities or television access and having their motorcycles destroyed.

But the legislation, which names motorcycle gangs the Bandidos, Hells Angels and Finks among 26 "criminal organisations", has also been criticised by civil libertarians who say they are discriminatory and unfair.

Experts say increased biker violence stems from turf wars over drug distribution, while the gangs are also allegedly involved in the distribution of firearms and explosives.

 

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