Bikies sweeping for police bugs
From: The Courier-Mail
June 16, 2012
PARANOID Queensland criminals are hiring security experts to sweep their houses for bugs and other hidden police surveillance equipment, leaving detectives frustrated.
They can also buy sophisticated "bug detection" kits, noise generators, hidden camera scanners and phone tap detectors online and in-store for as little as $450.
While police spend months planning operations involving placement of listening devices, their targets can order kits that allow them to identify suspicious points and keep their clandestine activities under even closer wraps.
Bikie gangs, such as the notorious Finks, previously have used security experts to check their homes.
Court documents describe Finks member Tama Lewis talking, in 2008, about enlisting security firm OzSpy to sweep his home for bugs, pointing at possible locations where bugs could be hidden and claiming that it takes 14 days for a mobile SIM card to be bugged.
Fellow member Phillip Main also allegedly discusses OzSpy, the fact that he checks for bugs every morning, and how he believes bugs are often placed in roofs.
OzSpy co-director Craig Mitchell said no "residence of the Finks", to the best of his knowledge, had ever been searched by his company.
Mr Mitchell said the franchise, formerly offering "investigative services", did not carry out sweeps and typically referred customers seeking bug-detection work to "credible" private investigation companies, who then performed the searches.
He did, however, concede that 60 to 70 per cent of OzSpy stores were independently owned and said it was possible that a Queensland store could be directly offering such services without his knowledge.
"There are still one or two that still hold investigation licences so that could be happening," he said. "Possibly, there's one in Queensland. I haven't checked their licence for a long time."
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said while the existence of such a service was "frustrating" to officers, they had come to view it as a common obstacle.
But those looking to check for covert surveillance may be taking matters into their own hands, with Australian-based OzSpy also selling a range of counter-surveillance devices, including a $2899 "professional bug detection set".