Diablos, Khon Kaen – just a group of expats with a love of bikes

Diablos Khon Kaen clubhouse. Martin (right), Michael (left).

Around the long front table at Crash bar in Khon Kaen, a group of men are chatting. Some of them are wearing the club colors red and yellow. Some even wear the official club gear of Diablos. But what they all have in common, is their love of bikes.

Diablos Khon Kaen is a small chapter of six members. All are expats, including their Swedish vice president, Michael, who among friends goes by the name Mike. The president, Martin is British, and besides from running the club, he and his wife owns the restaurant, where the members often meet.

Upstairs is the clubhouse, which mainly consist of a bar and a round table, with just enough chairs to seat the official members of the Khon Kaen chapter.

Some of the members are retired, while many like Mike, spend several months back in their home country working, to spend the equal amount of time riding their bikes with the rest of the group, underneath the warm Thai-sun.

Opens the door to the public

Even though the clubhouse is only for members of the club, the brotherhood frequently opens its door to the public.

“We often throw these open house days, where everyone is welcome. Usually, a lot of people turn up to see what we are all about, which is good. There is a lot of stigmas around being in a motorcycle club, but really, we are just a bunch of guys who loves bikes,” says Martin, while resting up against the clubhouse bar.

Diablos is an international motorcycle club that originated in Thailand back in 1999. They have chapters in 15 different countries, which makes it a big community that stretches way beyond the small chapter in Khon Kaen. In Thailand around 80% of the Diablos members are Thai, but in the Khon Kaen chapter, there are only expats.

According to Mike and Martin, the biker community in Thailand is generally about a shared love of bikes.

“Everyone gets along with each other and we help each other out,” they both agree.

Malmö has caused problems in the past

But it hasn’t always been like that in all the chapters.

Back in 2002, two Diablos members were arrested at the clubhouse in Malmö following an assault at a nightclub which left three people injured.

In 2006 the same clubhouse was raided by the police who seized amphetamine found at the premises. Later the President of the Malmö chapter was sentenced to eight months in prison for firearms possession.

In 2007 eight members of the Malmö chapter were arrested after police found weapons and narcotics during another raid in the clubhouse.

“There will always be someone doing something naughty. It is like that everywhere. Even if we were a bank, there would probably be someone doing drugs and misbehaving. That’s the law of averages. There will always be some bad ones in the mix,” Martin explains.

No room for misbehaving

Still, the club in Khon Kaen does not accept misbehavior from their members. If anyone conduct themselves inappropriately, they will most likely get banned from the club.

“As a member you are the face of the club, so you have to conduct yourself accordingly. Anything else is not accepted here,” Martin points out.

The club’s reputation is in general very important for the members. In an effort to challenge the stigmatization of motorcycle clubs, Diablos Khon Kaen works on getting involved with different projects and charities in the community. This includes donating to some of the city’s orphanages.

“Last Christmas we escorted Santa and his elf to deliver Xmas presents at two orphanages’ in Khon Kaen. We don’t give away money, but we let them ask for something they need and then we buy it for them. And of course, we brought some toys for the kids as well. It was a very heartwarming day,” Mike and Martin share, while showing pictures.

Baan Luuk Rak Children Home
An extended expat family

To maintain a righteous image, the club has set certain standards, when it comes to their members.

“You don’t ask to be a member of Diablos, you are being asked to join,” Martin shares.

Most members start by asking to join the chapter on smaller rides. If everything goes well, they might be invited back. But being accepted as a member is a long process, that takes time.

“We need to feel like the person is the right match. To be considered, you will have to show us, that you will be there for your brothers. That you will be there for this extended family that we are,” Martin says with a grave look on his face. He then walks back down to the bar downstairs, and takes a seat around the front table.

About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

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