Karl Labrook: Senior bikie’s unofficial move to Comanchero gang after mass Rebels exodus

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Ben Harvey
The Nightly
Karl Labrook exits Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning after being found guilty, wearing Comancheros colours.
Karl Labrook exits Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning after being found guilty, wearing Comancheros colours. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

A Rebels bikie kingpin is joining the Comanchero gang, in a move that has shocked the Australian underworld.

Police are bracing for reprisals from Karl Labrook’s old gang and waiting to see how many Rebels will follow the veteran to the new club, which has been quiet since detectives broke its back with a series of undercover operations a few years ago.

Labrook unofficially announced the defection on Monday by wearing black and gold — Comanchero colours — to his court appearance in WA.

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The subtle clue was immediately noticed by detectives and gangland bosses, who had been waiting to see what would become of three dozen Rebels bikies who handed in their colours en masse a few weeks ago.

Karl Labrook exits Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning after being found guilty.
Karl Labrook exits Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning after being found guilty. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The Nightly

That audacious move was triggered by a perceived lack of support from Sydney, for the Rebels’ WA chapters during the gang’s recent tit-for-tat war with the Mongols.

Labrook quit the club he joined 25 years ago after his integrity was questioned by national president Damien Vella, according to police sources.

It is understood the dispute with the Rebels’ east coast hierarchy was the last straw for Labrook, who had been appalled by the lack of support given to members who were jailed during a recent war with the Mongols gang.

It is understood senior Comanchero leaders flew to Perth in the wake of the group’s resignation, holding meetings with Labrook and other disaffected Rebels.

Karl Labrook enters Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning.
Karl Labrook enters Perth Magistrates Court on Monday morning. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The Nightly

Several high-profile East Coast Rebels had recently defected to the Comancheros, which gave the locals confidence in the switch.

At least six WA Rebels have signed over to the new club. It is understood the Comanchero have ruled out recruiting Rebels who are behind bars and are considering making even experienced bikies serve time as nominees before handing them a patch.

The Comanchero gang is Australia’s most feared organised crime outfit. Close to 20 people died in a Comanchero-linked gangland war that rocked Sydney over the past few years.

It is a powerful force in WA but has been relatively quiet over the past few years, courtesy of several police operations that targeted the club’s leadership.

In 2022 the club’s State commander, Nikola Maksimovic, was sentenced to 24 years for organising a shipment of 56kg of ice into WA from Victoria.

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The front page of The Nightly for 12-07-2024

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