Bikie club opens new Sydney chapter
All the gang: Members of the Comanchero, including the new South chapter, pose for a group shot at Brighton-le-Sands last Sunday. South chapter commander Mick Hijazi is centre, in sunglasses and blue jeans. Photo: Ilya Gridneff
One of Australia's most notorious bikie gangs, the Comanchero, is expanding with a new chapter opening in Sydney's south, taunting NSW police that the gang is growing.
Mohammad ''Mick'' Hijazi, who recently completed parole after being convicted and jailed after a Police Integrity Commission inquiry into corrupt police robbing drug dealers, is commander of the South chapter.
Mr Hijazi is now one of Australia's highest-ranking Comanchero club members and touted as a potential national president, with two past presidents in jail and another having fled the country.
Mr Hijazi confirmed a Comanchero clubhouse had been set up in the southern Sydney suburb of Turella for the 40 South chapter members. ''We're expanding, don't believe what the cops tell you,'' he said. ''Everyone wants to be a 'Como'.''
But it is not just in Sydney that the Australia-wide, 130-strong Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang is growing. Residents in Tea Gardens on the mid-north coast are trying to block a Comanchero clubhouse opening in an industrial estate there.
Acting police commander of the Gangs Squad, Gavin Wood, who would not comment on individual Comanchero members or chapters, said police were assessing ''historical and contemporary intelligence'' about the South group.
''We believe that rather than a new club and chapter, it is the case that it is a restructure within the club itself,'' he said. ''This process has seen the establishment of core regions within the group.''
Last Sunday Comanchero from several NSW chapters joined the new chapter to ride from Liverpool to Brighton-le-Sands, where they made their presence felt at a pizza restaurant. ''This is our area,'' Mr Hijazi said when approached by Fairfax Media. ''Always has been and now we have a chapter for it.''
Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Peter Zervas opened a tattoo parlour in Brighton-le-Sands in September 2009, but it was firebombed a month later.
Mr Hijazi would not comment on whether the new chapter was the result of an internal rift after the death of 23-year-old Comanchero Faalau Pisu, shot twice in the head at a fellow member's wedding reception last November. ''I don't talk about club business,'' he said.
Last December, national president Mark Buddle, 28, was arrested in Queensland and flown back to NSW to face breach of bail charges related to a series of assaults. Buddle disappeared shortly after his cousin and fellow Comanchero John Devine, 28, was shot on a street in Rhodes two days after Pisu's murder.
Mr Devine survived the attempt on his life and has refused to help police with their investigation.
Fairfax Media understands turmoil within the club deepened after the Pisu murder. Buddle, whose leadership had been a source of club angst, took the top spot after Daux Hohepa Ngakuru fled Australia in 2010.
Former national president Mahmoud ''Mick'' Hawi was sentenced last year to at least 21 years in jail for the murder of Peter Zervas' brother and Hells Angels associate Anthony in the infamous Sydney Airport brawl of 2009.