'The devil': Top cop outlines gang warfare fears

The Comancheros are a dangerous criminal organisation who exist to make money, a senior police...
The Comancheros are a dangerous criminal organisation who exist to make money, a senior police officer says. Image: Supplied
Inter-gang warfare is increasing in New Zealand - and fast - as Australian groups infiltrate our shores.

And a top cop has described one in particular as "the devil".

Detective Sergeant Ray Sunkel, head of the police motorcycle gang unit, spoke at the Police Association Annual Conference today.

His address was about recent developments in gangs in New Zealand.

Sunkel said the biggest and most pressing issue was convicts being kicked out of Australia and bringing their gang links home.

"The Australian deportees are changing the entire system," Sunkel said.

"The Comancheros, I can assure you, are the devil.

"They are a criminal organisation who exist to make money."

Sunkel said while Kiwi gangs usually opted to deal with inter group issues at a committee level - sometimes paying for perceived wrongdoings in drugs - the Aussies fought much more dirty.

A gold-plated Harley Davidson seized by police in April. Photo: NZ Police
A gold-plated Harley Davidson seized by police in April. Photo: NZ Police
"The biggest evidence of change was the 1st of May 2018 - Operation Weaver.

"This was an execution in the streets of Mangere, he was shot and his wife was made to beg for her life … they unloaded a .22 into her head."

Viliami Taani had shot Epalahame Tu'uheava and his wife Yolanda (Mele) Tu'uheava after they were lured to Greenwood Rd under the pretence of a drug deal before being gunned down.

Sunkel said after the incident, police spoke to local gangs who told them: "Don't look at us mate, that's the Aussies, that's not what we do."

He said the Comancheros were the worst of the Australian groups but the Rebels, Banditos and Mongols were also problematic.

"The Comancheros … they are violent, they are ruthless, Sunkel said,

"If they decide to bring that mentality in here we will have warfare.

"We're not saying definitely, we're saying the potential is there for some pretty serious violence to happen."

Sunkel said New Zealand gang the Head Hunters were also starting to '"re-emerge".

While police focused on other gangs - their resources limited - the Head Hunters began to increase their presence and activity.

"They are really starting to rise up … taxings all over the show, people standing over shooting other people … they are really happy about what's going on," said Sunkel.

"The Mongrel Mob, they deserve a mention too.

"They started because they wanted to be mongrels … they wanted to be filthy and dirty and smelly and hoons, and that's what they did."

Sunkel said the Mob were evolving, but not at a rapid pace.

What had changed dramatically was gangs using social media to try and convince the public they were doing "good".

Some fed children in poor areas, others held charity boxing matches or teamed up with DHBs to work with the sick and impoverished.

But Sunkel said it was just a cover - they were still gangs deeply embedded in the criminal world.

"They're legitimising themselves, or trying to and engendering public sympathy," he said.

"IT is a recruiting tool, an out-and-out recruiting tool

"It's just pushing out 'look how cool we are'

"Any photo op you can, they're loving it - and people are eating it up."

Gangs were also using guns far more often.

Sunkel said while members carried guns - often high powered - they generally "were not for police".

But they could and would be used on frontline cops trying to stop gang members offending.

"They become a weapon of opportunity ... it's for each other at this stage ... but if they don't want to be locked up ... they will use them."

Sunkel said his biggest fear was corruption.

"They are out there cop-shopping, looking at cops to corrupt," he said.

"I know this because one of the guys tried to corrupt me, had a proper run for me to get me on the books.

"He admitted he tried to corrupt me."

Sunkel said there would be a "significant growth" in the Comancheros.

"They are not happy being anywhere other than number one," he said.

"We will see firearms ... we will see corruption."

 

Comments

Seems to me that, this is another example of the consequences of our post-modern social construct, coming home to roost.
I wonder what it will take for NZers to realize the link between the trendy SJW ideology and the ever deteriorating social norms and increasing lawlessness.
I also wonder why the fact that NZ now has more gang members than police, wasn't mentioned or that in Australia there is one gang member for every 3800 citizens while here in NZ the ratio is 1 to 780.
What will it take to nudge our elite political and legal class out of their slumber to put the welfare of our citizens ahead of their ideology?

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