The insignia on back of the jacket of the president of the Bonn chapter of the motorcycle gang 'Hells Angels' is pictured as he waits in a courtroom in the western German city of Koblenz September 14, 2010. Defendant Karl-Heinz B. a member of the 'Hells Angels' is facing trial on Tuesday for killing a Rhineland-Palinate special police forces (SEK) officer on March 17, 2010, during a police operation. REUTERS/Mario Vedder/Pool (GERMANY - Tags: CRIME LAW)

The German state of Hesse has banned two Frankfurt-based Hells Angels chapters and confiscated their assets.

Interior minister Boris Rhein cited a history of weapons offences and violence, saying: "These gangs are not in any way made up only of harmless motorbike riders.

"Many members are known to the police because of violent, drug or weapon-related offences."

The interior ministry said it had the authority to ban clubs when their aims or activities broke the law.

It quoted a recent report from Germany's federal criminal investigation office which showed that one in every 10 investigations into organised crime was linked to a criminal biker gang.

Rhein said the authorities were closely monitoring the motorcycle gangs in Hesse and had others in their sights.

"We have a zero-tolerance strategy," he added.

The Hells Angels were formed in California nearly 60 years ago and have chapters around the world. There have been chapters in Germany since 1970. - Reuters