Monday, 30 August 2010
Avoiding the elephant in the room

This is a news item from the crime desk of ABC News Australia, thanks to Dumbledore's Army, which as she points out is important as much for what it doesn't say, as what it does.

One of the nation's biggest investigations into organised crime has exposed an international drug importation syndicate with links to the Comancheros outlaw bikie gang, Chinese triads and corrupt Australian officials.

Operation Hoffman, a landmark multi-agency investigation led by the Australian Crime Commission, has also revealed the deep links between drug importers and rogue Australian maritime workers.

A joint ABC Four Corners and The Age investigation into organised crime can also reveal that:

  • In Victoria, authorities have uncovered links between corrupt Melbourne port workers, the Hells Angels and prominent Italian criminals
  • NSW police have identified a group of drug-importing Sydney port workers with government maritime security cards who have been active since 2004

It has led to major ecstasy, heroin and crystal methamphetamine drug busts across Australia, the biggest-ever drug bust on the Pacific island group of Tonga, and the discovery in May last year of a bikie armoury in Sydney - including automatic weapons and imitation police equipment.

Those arrested include alleged drug runners with links to Chinese triads and the Perth president of the Comancheros, Steven Milenkovski.

Despite Hoffman severely damaging the bikie group, the Comancheros have continued establishing a foothold in Melbourne under the control of local club controller Amad 'Jay' Malkhoun, a convicted heroin trafficker with interests in several Melbourne strip clubs.

One of Hoffman's key targets is Hakan Ayik, 32, from Sydney . . . NSW police intelligence describes Ayik as a 'very serious money maker' who 'generates a lot of money' for the Comancheros and has multiple links to waterfront workers. Operation Hoffman ended earlier this month after NSW police issued an arrest warrant for Ayik for drug trafficking. It is believed he is now on the run.

However, a senior law enforcement insider has revealed to Four Corners that despite its success, inadequate resourcing meant Operation Hoffman was unable to reach its full potential. He said the criminal network it targeted "will reform very, very quickly".

The insider said the ACC needed far more investigators to run major inquiries . . .  consensus among senior police is that the ACC is badly under-resourced given the size and reach, here and abroad, of Australia's new breed of technologically savvy and well-resourced underworld figures.

The launching of a state and federal policing taskforce to combat organised crime on the wharves in NSW has been slowed due to inter-agency talks.

As DA tells me, the elephant which is not mentioned is that the reporter specifies the Chinese triads and the Italian gangs (the mafia doesn't exist and you better believe it) but despite the names of two of the Comancheros being Islamic, and despite there being a  Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (which, just for existing, has been accused of being 'racist' ) makes no mention of the 'heritage', for want of a better word, of the other incredient in this criminal stew. The Muslims.

I find it interesting that the bike gang the Comancheros being heavily Lebanese Muslim in Australia. I read in the Copenhagen post that much of the gang warfare in denmark is clashed between the ethnic Danish chapter of the Hells Angels and the Muslim newcomers who want to wrest control of the drugs scene from them. While in England  biker culture, at every level, including the commuter runs remains mostly an activity of the indigenous population.

Posted on 08/30/2010 1:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
31 Aug 2010
Christina McIntosh

As regards biker (we call them 'bikie') gangs in Australia.  The Hell's Angels have been here longest, and seem not to have been heavily infiltrated by Muslims.  

The Comancheros, and other gangs less well known (e.g. a group called 'Notorious') seem to be in the process of being taken over by Muslims. This has added a new and extreme level of violence to the bikie gang wars. I think Muslims gravitate to the outlaw bikie gangs for the same reasons as, in African countries, they tend to infiltrate and take over the police and/ or the military.   

Not too long ago there was a murderous brawl in broad daylight in the domestic terminal of Sydney airport - in front of waiting passengers, staff and security guards - in which Hell's Angels members and Comacheros attacked each other.  If I recall correctly, a Greek Australian [non-Muslim; his funeral took place at a Greek Orthodox church] Hell's Angel member was beaten to death (his skull bashed in) by Muslim Comanchero members.

In former policeman Tim  Priest's classic Quadrant article, 'the Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia', he makes the interesting observation that whereas the Chinese organised crime outfits tended primarily to prey upon their own and within the suburbs or localities where their people lived (and I think the same is broadly true of mafia-type outfits within the Italian community, both in Australia and America), the Lebanese Muslim organised crime outfits preyed in suburbs well outside of their 'home base' and primarily targeted victims not of their ethnicity (he didn't know enough about Islam to realize that they were targeting *non-Muslim* Aussies, qua *non-Muslims*).

Mr Priest observed two other things: that the Muslim gangs were extremely violent - such that only the Chinese/ Vietnamese 'triad' style gangs were capable of matching them and holding them off; and that, whereas the broader Chinese/ Vietnamese immigrant community were mostly quite eager to cooperate with the Aussie police in order to curb street crime and get their thugs, drug lords and crime bosses caught and put out of circulation, the Muslim community mostly refused to cooperate with the police in any meaningful way, instead closing ranks around and protecting and excusing Muslim criminals.  

The Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (there is also an Asian Crime Squad, focusing on triad-type activity and drug smuggling from the 'Golden Triangle') seems mostly to catch criminals of an Islamic persuasion, to judge by the names of such perps as appear in the newspaper reports after successful 'busts'.  

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