The Hells Angels club is a motorcycle club with 200 chapters around the world. Its members mostly ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles, although some members ride other types of bikes. The club is considered an criminal organization by the U.S. Department of Justice, although the club denies these allegations.
The Hells Angels began in 1948 in Fontana, California by the Bishop family. The club's name came from the name of a WWII squadron one of the founders served in. Hells Angels is also known as the H.A., Red and White and 81.
It takes several years to become a full member of the club. Full members are called "full-patch," which refers to the death skull patch members wear. Before becoming full-patch, lower members are called "associates." Prospective members much have a driver's license and a motorcycle over 750cc. The club does not allow child molesters or those involved in law enforcement to become members. Although there are no official policies on race, nearly all the members are white males.
The club has been accused of participating in criminal activities including violet crimes, drug dealing and prostitution. The club denies these claims and insists it is only a motorcycle enthusiast club. It contends that any criminal activity performed by its members is not associated with the Hells Angels organization.