Gang violence inevitable in South, ex-member says

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
A major recruitment drive in the South will lead to more serious gang violence and turf wars, a former gang member has warned.

The Otago man said he was not surprised to see the number of gang members in the Southern police district had jumped 61% in the past two years, as the Otago Daily Times reported this week.

''Everyone's recruiting. They're getting numbers out there. It's a numbers game - the more members ... the more money they can make,'' he said.

The former gang member spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared violent reprisals if identified.

A lot of recruitment was being done in prison, he said.

''I know the Killer Beez are hard-out recruiting at the moment, the [Mongrel] Mob, especially the Mataura Mob, the Comancheros ...''

In October 2017 there were 134 patched gang members or prospects in the Southern police district.

By the end of August this year, that had increased to 217.

The push into the South was driven by the methamphetamine trade, the man said.

''They're flooding the market with this bloody drug, this meth. Then they'll cut it off - they'll wait till people are hanging out for it, trying to get it.

''Then the gangs will bring it out again, they'll up the price, and that's when the wars are going to start.''

He said the rise of methamphetamine was the reason he left his gang.

''We'd go to barbecues at our mates' places and take our kids there, and now I wouldn't go anywhere near them ...

His comments came a day after two men appeared in the Queenstown District Court charged with supplying methamphetamine in Cromwell.

There was a lot of gang activity in Central Otago, where there were many seasonal workers, the man said.

''I'm just devastated, because it's the kids that are harmed, and these people don't care.

''They just don't care. There's money to be made for them.

''You're seeing all the murders and shooting in Auckland - it's not going to be long before it's happening here.

''It's definitely going to happen. It's just a matter of time.''

He said there were already gang-related home invasions in Dunedin that went unreported.

In the 12 months from May 24, 2018, 65 people recorded as gang members or prospects were charged with a crime in the Southern police district.

The man urged people who saw gang activity to report it to police, even anonymously.

''Don't be shy. Don't be scared.

''It's all about the money, and it's our kids that are suffering''

-Dunedin police (03) 417-4800, Crimestoppers 0800 555-111.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

Comments

How about resistance with extreme prejudice? Can we do that if they come through the window?

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