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Friday, 16 July 2010

Maori and Pacific Island gangs are classed as the second most serious crime problem in Sydney

16:35 |

Maori and Pacific Island gangs are classed as the second most serious crime problem in Sydney, second only to violent Lebanese gangs.

Police regard them as a crime scourge because of their widespread involvement in house and car burglaries, with offenders starting as young as 14.

Their crime profile is worsening with Australia's bikie gangs recruiting Pacific Islanders to shore up numbers as Sydney's gang wars spew into suburban and city streets almost daily.

All but 10 of 32 drive-by shootings or bombings in the past six months have been linked to bike gangs.

Islanders are being targeted by newer and more violent gangs such as Notorious, formed in 2007, and chapters of the Bandidos, dominated by Middle Eastern migrants, particularly Lebanese, according to a police source.

The officer said gangs wanted Islanders for work as bouncers at their night clubs, security guards and for drug-running.

This is in addition to a long-standing recruitment of Maori into gangs though Australian police tend not to differentiate between Islanders and Maori, tagging them all as Polynesians.

The Australian Crime Commission estimates there are about 3500 outlaw bikies in Australia in 39 gangs. The number of Pacific Islanders involved is unclear.

The source said Australian police considered Polynesians who had arrived in Sydney via New Zealand to be the second most serious crime problem in Sydney behind Lebanese criminals.

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