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AUSTRALIA - Gold Coast criminal tells how guns can be bought in under two hours thanks to bikie connections

OFF THE WIRE
BY: Mark Solomons Tuck Thompson Josh Robertson
Source: couriermail.com.au

Bikies Inc rotator
Source: The Courier-Mail
A HARDENED Gold Coast criminal has told The Courier-Mail he could obtain a "very nice" handgun for about $2000 in two hours "through bikie connections".
The man, who has a criminal history involving outlaw motorcycle clubs, said the weapon would be "top of the range, like a Glock 9mm" and was likely to have come from a cache of guns stolen during a break-in and then stored for later use or sale. "It could be easily procured for a job," he said.
A spate of shootings on the Gold Coast, including the killing of police officer Damian Leeding during an armed hold-up, has turned the spotlight on the availability of illegal guns and last month prompted the Crime and Misconduct Commission to add firearms to its priority list.
The pool of illegal weapons in Queensland was boosted in recent months by a mass theft of 200 guns from a source that police have refused to disclose. But law enforcement experts insist they see no sudden upsurge in the demand for, or use of, firearms to commit crime.
One senior police officer pointed out that most armed robberies did not involve firearms.
He said that if it appeared there was a greater propensity for criminals to shoot people it had more to do with their mental capacity at the time of the crime - likely to be affected by drugs - than the availability of illegal handguns.
The mass gun theft was disclosed by the CMC last month when the body added firearms to its permanent list of matters to investigate.
But CMC officers separately told The Courier-Mail that they had not identified the import or conversion of weapons as a significant source of income for organised criminals in Queensland. "We have no intelligence indicating anything more than opportunistic involvement," a senior officer said.
This is despite unregistered weapons attracting much higher prices than legitimately held ones.
A Glock pistol - like those used by Queensland police officers - can be bought new by a holder of the appropriate licence from a legitimate dealer for about $800 - less than half its street value.
Semi-automatic pistols such as the Glock and revolvers are favoured by some criminals because they are concealable and give the owner underworld status.
Arms dealer Robert Nioa said that because of tight controls over handguns in Australia, the most likely source for new ones was importation - where he saw holes in enforcement.
"The number of containers screened, my understanding is that it's very very low, of general consignments of foreign goods, motor cars, machinery parts, metal instruments," he said. "If that's the case, it would not be difficult to import components of firearms, split it over multiple shipments, hidden in all sorts of consignments, and consolidated at a later time."

Read more reports of this special investigation in Monday's print edition of The Courier-Mail [and explore the Bikie Inc. web of intrigue diagrams by clicking here, or the detailed club profiles below.]
 



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