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Dowsley, Mark Buttler
FAMILY feuds, bikies, drugs, guns and
money are at the heart of Melbourne's
latest burst of gangland violence.
Sun investigation has found
trigger-happy criminals are arming
themselves with a gun for $3000.
price of a 9mm semi-automatic on the weapons
More than 30
people have been shot in recent years in a
conflict that has been as disorganised as it
motorcycle gangs are suspected of being the
source of some of the guns that have found
their way into the hands of combatants.
concern at the bikies' links to several
families whose activities have come under
the scrutiny of the Santiago taskforce.
of the combatants in the conflict are
well-known faces in the nightclubs of Chapel
St and King St.
It is here
that some deal methamphetamine or provide
muscle for others doing the trafficking.
industry figures know to treat them with
caution because of the risk they have been
using their product and are carrying
victims have survived shootings - mostly
fired to the legs as warnings but, in some
cases, simply the result of bad
wounded victim is said to have told hospital
staff he was injured by gravel thrown his
way by a car performing a burn-out.
been taken to industrial areas to be bashed
for information or money.
After a gun
battle in Coolaroo this year, three men were
tortured over days in a factory.
Some in the
northern suburbs have found their houses
fire-bombed and others not even involved
have been threatened with death after
standing up to gang members.
shooting fatality publicly linked to the
north suburban conflict was that of a man at
Hadfield last month.
who are believed to have been present were
questioned on the night of his death, but no
charges have been laid.
It is a code
of silence that has frustrated
investigators, with few willing to test what
will happen if they do talk.
While much of
the friction in the north is suspected to be
caused by money and drugs, grudges and
revenge are more likely to be at the heart
of clashes in the west.
The deaths of
two men from the opposing Chaouk and Haddara
families have shifted the spotlight to the
Altona North and Brooklyn areas.
has intensified since Mohammed Haddara was
shot dead in a park at Altona North in June
A car was soon
after allegedly rammed into the fence of the
Chaouks' property in Geelong Rd, Brooklyn.
later, in one of the most alarming incidents
yet, a machinegun was fired into a car
parked outside a McDonald's restaurant on
Millers Rd, Altona North.
ago, the shooting of 18-year-old Sam Haddara
in a car on Chambers Rd, Altona North,
amplified police concerns.
The ambush was
regarded as an intended hit and unlikely to
be allowed to pass without retaliation.
are suspected of having forged links with
the Kheirs, a family believed to be linked
to violence in the northern suburbs.
suggestions the Haddaras have also aligned
themselves with a bikie gang.
While this is
unclear, there is no doubt the Hells Angels
are in the Chaouk corner.
between the outfit and the family were clear
long before some Angels rode to the Preston
Mosque to pay their respects at murdered
Macchour Chaouk's funeral last month.
in the gangland war would be familiar to the
Purana detectives who investigated
Melbourne's previous underworld war.
Orfanidis, who recently arrived badly
wounded at Sunshine Hospital, was discharged
by a magistrate over the murder of Mark
investigating mostly non-fatal shootings,
the Santiago taskforce, are making progress
in getting some of those on charges to
inform on their co-conspirators.
have built intelligence on how the networks
formed, confiscated dozens of guns and are
tracking how the money is made.
After a split
between the Chaouks and the Haddaras, both
families have splintered.
the Chaouks have links with the Elgammal
family, which leases a carwash near the
Chaouk family home.
at the corner of Millers and Geelong roads,
has been raided by police and is also at the
centre of a legal battle with a Sydney-based
couple trying to evict them.
clan, led by Ahmed Haddara, who has been
questioned over the murder of Macchour
Chaouk, has been linked with the Kheir
told the Herald Sun that the
escalation in shootings between the Chaouks
and the Haddaras is based on mutual hatred.
There is no
formal structure or chain of command in
their activities, despite the families,
until the death of Macchour Chaouk, having
clear patriarchal figures. s
those linked with the families refer to each
other as brothers and cousins.