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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.



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