German state bans Hells Angels' logo online
Displaying the symbols of notorious motorcycle gangs the Hells Angels and the Bandidos is forbidden across Germany, but that ban has now extended to the internet.
Websites baring the bright red "Hells Angels" lettering and the iconic winged skull or the so-called Fat Mexican of the Bandidos gang will now be punished, the interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia Ralf Jäger said on Tuesday.
The biker symbols must be deleted from websites or the site will be taken down, the interior minister of Germany's most populous state said.
"Offenders will be tracked down based on the website and punished," a press spokesperson from the ministry told The Local when questioned how an online ban can be enforced by one state. He added that the exact consequence, most likely a fine, will vary on a case by case basis.
"We do not want to tolerate any legal loopholes. We're applying a zero tolerance strategy," said Jäger in a statement. "The deceptive image of motorcycle romance has become a criminal reality."
"We'll use all of our available legal options in the fight against biker crime," he added.
A judge first banned the Hells Angels' charter in Hamburg in 1983. When a former member of the gang tried to appeal the decision in April this year, a judge ruled that public displays of the logo were forbidden throughout the entire country.
North Rhine-Westphalia is, however, the first state to also ban the logo online.
The California-based motorcycle club boasts upwards of 1,000 members throughout Germany, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office.
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