Liberal MP calls for Federal
Government to get tough on Victoria’s Apex gang
Ellen Whinnett, Herald Sun
FEDERAL bikie-busters would
be called in to break up the Apex gang under a proposal from
Liberal MP and former police officer Jason Wood.
Mr Wood, who wrote the
Coalition’s successful anti-gangs policy, said federal task
forces targeting bikies and organised crime groups should be
expanded to include violent street gangs such as Apex.
As well, Mr Wood said
consideration should be given to new immigration laws where dual
national citizens could be deported if they commit any crime of
violence, in a gang context, that lands them a jail sentence.
Currently, only permanent
residents who sexually abuse children or receive a jail sentence
of more than 12 months are deported.
Mr Wood, the member for the
Victorian seat of La Trobe, said the law and order crisis caused
by the Apex gang should be a state issue but “the State
Government has not been able to stop them’’.
He said federal intervention
could help police target the 400-strong Apex gang, which
comprises mainly juvenile offenders but has committed a string
of violent home invasions and carjackings across suburban
Melbourne and is developing increasingly strong ties with bikies
and Middle Eastern and Eastern European crime syndicates.
Mr Wood has discussed his
proposals with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration
and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton.
He said Apex and other violent
street gangs could be targeted by the Australian Gangs
Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, which comprises investigators
from the tax office, Department of Human Services, state and
federal police, the Australian Crime Commission and Border
Force, which systematically destroys gangs by targeting their
The National Anti-Gang Squad
could also focus on Apex and other violent gangs of street
Both these organisations
currently focus on outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime
syndicates, but Mr Wood said the policy was originally written
with all violent gangs in mind.
Mr Wood also said Apex should
be “ranked’’ according to the threat it posed, and that
Australia should follow the lead of Britain and the US by
including street gangs in its ranking system, which would have
allowed earlier surveillance of Apex, which grew over several
years but mostly stayed under the radar.
“There is a view that this is
a State Government responsibility but the Federal Government can
play a role,’’ Mr Wood said.
He said it was vital young
Apex gang members were stopped before they ended up in adult
prisons and came under the influence of bikies and Islamic
extremists who were known to be recruiting in Barwon Prison.