The Hells Angels have a long history of intimidation against the media
Thursday, 7 December 2017 14:13
Thursday, 7 December 2017 14:21
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40 years ago, the Hells Angels motorcycle club settled in Quebec. The police are expecting to see these this weekend, to celebrate. They are now much more unobtrusive and have infiltrated the legal trade. In the mid-90s, however, they were kings and masters. Some journalists and videographers have learned to their cost.
During a funeral ceremony at the cathedral of Trois-Rivières, a team of TVA Trois-Rivières found herself surrounded by bikers.
“First came to me to ask for my tape, I refused. A second one arrived, I continued to say no. In the mean time, they were six of them around us. There were no more options other than to comply,” recalls the filmmaker Jean Carbonneau.
The Hells were saying goodbye to one of their own that day. While the tension was palpable between them and some of the rival gangs, their privacy was more important than ever to their eyes.
“We tried to negotiate with them to keep our images, but these guys are talking about, but do not listen. We gave them the cassette, and then they have sent two motorcyclists to drive us back to our car,” says journalist Pierre Saint-Yves, who has covered a few times, the activities of the Hells Angels between 1979 and 2007.
Their shoot was coming to an end. It will be the same for their colleague, posted on the 12th floor of the Royal Plaza, which has also been spotted. It was better to flee with the precious video tape before the arrival of the vindicators.
“He called us, he completely freaked out. I quickly suggested to take refuge in a radio station in the same building and let the equipment on site. It is quickly returned to the station with the recording and it was made so to recover the camera later.”
A fortress hostile
Their lair was fenced and equipped with numerous surveillance cameras. Not who wants to in the Hells. The cameras were not welcome, not even in the street. Using a mirror, the guards of the bunker were trying to dazzle the camera lens to prevent the cameramen from taking their pictures.
“When they sent us to the bunker, we knew that they were going to go outside, cross the arms, and even photograph us… it is bullying,” recalls Jean Carbonneau, who has hung up her camera in 1999.
His partner of the time remains marked by these incidents. “When they’re shooting at 40 centimeters from the nose, you’re not big in your shoes. It is stressful because your face is directly in their lair. They don’t care, as the police collect information on them. I was a father of a young child at this time, it is certain that you think about it,” says Eddy Verbeck employed by TVA from 1988 to 2000.
A suspicious package
Guy Brouillette was the first to reveal the identity of the members in good standing of the Missiles of Trois-Rivières, become a few years later the local chapter of the Hells Angels.
In the aftermath of the broadcast, the cars began to slow down in the middle of the night in front of his house. “There are even motorcyclists who presented directly to the resort. A few times, I looked under my car to assure me that there isn’t a backpack or a suspicious package.”
In September 2000, the well-known journalist Michel Auger has been a victim of an attempted murder in the parking lot of the Journal de Montréal. It is still to this day one of the most serious against a member of the press.