Police crackdown targeting Sydney gangs
The arrest and extradition of a man police say controls a Sydney criminal gang has kicked off an operation they hope will help them solve a number of murders and kidnappings.
Ibrahem Hamze, 27, did not apply for bail when he appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday, charged with intent to murder and soliciting a murder over a shooting outside a Prospect gym, in western Sydney in November.
He was extradited from Queensland a day earlier and is alsoÂ facing charges of large commercial drug supply and directing the activities of a criminal group, among others.
His case will return to court on April 7.
Haissam Hamzy, 27, and Tareek Hamzy, 24, also faced court and were refused bail on Wednesday, charged along with four others allegedly involved in detaining and stabbing a 24-year-old man in Sydney's west last year.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith says the three men who are now behind bars are "controllers" of the Hamzy crime family, "key to the co-ordination of the violent activities" in its notorious feud with the Alameddine family.
Things kicked into high gear on Thursday morning with the launch of Operation Hawk, a two-day "intelligence driven operation" police hope will "resolve various investigations".
Deputy Commissioner David Hudson says a number of people were charged on Thursday but "this is not the end of our activity in relation to these jobs".
"There are a number of homicides that are still outstanding ... many of those investigations are a very slow burn.
"We might believe or might suspect who the individuals involved are but we need evidence," he said.
The operation launched on Thursday will be focused on gathering that evidence.
It builds on the ongoing work of the gang-targeting Raptor Squad, which ordinarily has 108 members "using disruption techniques all the time", but temporarily has "another 500 staff who will carry out the same activity" over the two-day operation, Mr Smith said.
"We are going to really get in the face of these people and we are going to remind them that this city is not their place," he said.
He warned police could seek deportation at the end of court matters for some of the accused.
Conflict between multiple rival groups including outlaw motorcycle gangs heated up in October and Mr Smith said it was "debatable" that the theft of a large quantity of drugs was at the centre of it.
The Prospect shooting Hamze has been charged over "signalled some intent to (police) and certainly the government to bring (the conflict) to the end", following a number of public execution-style shooting murders last year.
While there is "a long way to go" police "are confident we are getting on top of the violent behaviour of these groups", Mr Smith said.