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Tattoo gang members turn on each other

MEMBERS of an Adelaide street gang are turning on each other with guns as the city's underworld war intensifies.

Sources close to the New Boys gang have told The Advertiser several young members - including former Central District and state junior footballer, Dylan Jessen - want out because of the rising level of violence within the gang.

Police also confirmed the New Boys associate who was shot twice in the neck at a Hindley St tattoo parlour Thursday night was gunned down after a fight with a former New Boys clubmate, aged in his 20s.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Where the gang battles have been fought

The victim, 17, is likely to be partially paralysed after surgeons removed two "small calibre" slugs from his neck.

He is refusing to assist police find the two men and a woman who returned to Ink Central after the fight and shot him.

The youth, who was alone in the parlour, is not related to New Boys leader, convicted heroin dealer Vince Focarelli, who owns the shop.

"He (youth) could have quite easily died as a result of what happened," Det Chief-Insp John Gerlach said.

"This is probably contained within the New Boys and it doesn't extend to the conflict between the Hells Angels and the New Boys."

The Advertiser was told tensions within the New Boys have spilled over and many members are attempting to break away.

Jessen joined the New Boys about the time he was told to leave Central District because of his behaviour within the club.

He has recently inked over the "New Boys" tattoos on his forearms and is known to be attempting to join rival club The Finks along with his friend, another break-away New Boys member, who cannot be named.

Jessen is yet to plead to one count of trafficking a controlled drug and two counts of possessing a prescription drug.

If found guilty, he could face jail and sources say he needs the security of gang affiliation while serving time. Sources say the New Boys fired a shot at the front door of Jessen's grandmother's Elizabeth East house on July 25 to warn him they were capable of doing him harm.

This outraged many New Boys who now want to leave the club. The disintegration is happening against a backdrop of an intensifying feud between the Hells Angels and the New Boys.

Last week a Hells Angel nominee pulled a gun on Focarelli at a Sefton Park shopping centre. Focarelli ran and was unhurt, but the gunman has not been found.

In April, 10 Hells Angels with steel bars and chains attacked a group of New Boys outside the parlour. In May, a man stabbed Focarelli's son, Giovanni, 21, in the stomach and chest outside Ink Central.

In February, two Hells Angels associates died after a bomb police said was intended for Focarelli exploded prematurely, about 50m from his former home at Enfield.

Ink Central is a gathering point for New Boys and a battlefield where violence regularly spills over, prompting Hindley St traders to call for it to be closed.

But police said it was not that easy. "In terms of running a tattoo parlour in the street, it isn't unlawful so it's probably not much we can do at this stage," Chief-Insp Gerlach said.

"What is illegal, though, is the actions of those going to the tattoo parlour and those leaving. Where they are criminal offences ... we'll take action."

Other traders are furious at the violence, saying law-breakers should not be tolerated.

B & C Security head Laury Bais, who runs security for 13 Hindley St venues, said Ink Central should be closed.

He said: "Why is an organisation that is known to be breaking the law allowed to run a business on a street which is relatively clean? I'd like to know why a 17-year-old was in a shop on his own with nobody else around; where was the protection?"

A spokeswoman for Police Minister Michael Wright said he was working with police to explore what powers, if any, the government had to close Ink Central. She said that process would include discussions with Adelaide City Council.

West End Traders spokesman Tony Tropeano said traders should co-operate with police. "It's important that these type of people who feel they are above the law are stopped. No one's above the law," he said.

"(However) it is a lawful business (so) we must give the presumption of innocence here."

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