Friday, 27 April 2012

Bikies bringing war to the suburbs

NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione fears the country is moving toward a gangland American gun culture. He might be right. The spates of gun-related violence linked to bikie turf and drug wars has shifted around the country and intensified in the past few months. In 2012 alone, there have been 52 recorded shooting incidents involving bikies and organised crime groups. At the moment, it's South Australia's turn. In the past week, Adelaide residents have been exposed to three shooting incidents linked to bikie activity in the past nine days. The latest at 5.10am yesterday saw a vacant caravan sprayed with up to 12 bullets in a drive-by shooting in the city's northern suburbs. The Adelaide Advertiser reports that police claim the shooting was an ongoing dispute between the Finks and Hells Angels. A bikie gang associate had been staying in the caravan. Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have all seen a procession of bikies troop through their court systems this year for crimes ranging from attempted murder to theft, extortion, drug offences, arson and assault. The majority of charges involve the use of illegal firearms. Nine men have suffered gunshot wounds during 19 shootings in Sydney just this month. Ten days ago, there were five drive-by incidents in the city's west in one night. Four of the locations were linked to the Hells Angels and police suspect they were targeted by the Nomads in retaliation for a drive-by shooting a day earlier. Police today raided 18 properties, including the home of Nomads bikie member Sam Ibrahim as part of an investigation into the drive-bys. The raids are part of Strike Force Kinnarra, set up last week to probe an ongoing feud between the Nomads and Hells Angels. Ibrahim's home still sported bullet holes in the walls and windows. Mr Scipione is on the record saying the days of turf crimes being "resolved with a punch-up... appear to have gone". "Perhaps we're moving down the American path where these sorts of disputes are resolved on the end of a handgun," he said.

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