Saturday, April 13, 2024
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One dead in ‘gang’ shooting in Sydney’s Bondi neighbourhood

SYDNEY (AFP) – A man was killed in Sydney’s famed Bondi neighbourhood yesterday, in what police described as a hit on a “major player” in the city’s crime underworld.

A police cordon was thrown up around one of Sydney’s busiest shopping precincts after residents and rush hour commuters were shocked to hear shots ring out from an underground parking lot not far from Bondi Beach.

A 48-year-old man with an “extensive criminal history” was found dead in his vehicle.

The scene “bears the hallmarks of an organised crime murder”, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty told reporters.

“We believe this is a targeted shooting and we believe it’s a targeted shooting of a high-level organised crime identity.”

The man was not named, but was said to be “well known to police” and “obviously had a big target on his back”. A burnt-out Porsche was found nearby and is believed to be linked to the shooting.

Police block off a street at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Australia. PHOTO: AFP

“This is yesterday morning and Bondi Junction. We don’t expect this to happen,” said Doherty.

Olivia Scanlan, a 27-year-old local actress and dancer, said she was “shocked” by the shooting in a neighbourhood, which is usually associated with surf and backpackers rather than gangland hits.

“I have friends that come here to visit and they think, ‘Wow, Australia is a dream’,” she told AFP. “They think it is so safe and this is so different to home.

“You can walk around at night time and feel like nothing is going to happen.” Despite having a population of just 26 million people, Australia is one of the world’s most lucrative markets for recreational drugs, with street prices far above those found in Europe or North America.

In 2019-2020, the last period for which data is available, some 39 tonnes of drugs were seized by police and 166,321 drug arrests occurred. Local motorcycle gangs have increasingly made contact with Mexican and other cartels to bring drugs into the country, according to Australian authorities.