Cops left scrambling as mobsters kidnap, torture each other
NSW Police have set up a special strike force to investigate a wave of kidnapping and torture for ransom of a more than a dozen Sydney criminals in the past six months.
In many cases the abductors are demanding millions of dollars for the hostages who are frequently tortured, with photos sent to family or crime gangs to encourage payment.
"Those people targeted are not random. In nearly every case the hostages are known to police. They are not mum and dad businessmen,'' a senior officer said.
News Corp understands NSW Police found out about several kidnappings from informants and on phone taps while investigating other crimes.
Recently Strike Force Trichbourne was set up by the NSW Robbery and Serious Crime Squad working with the NSW Crime Commission. It has resulted in the arrest of 10 people and 44 charges in relation to a number of abductions.
Many of the victims have been found dumped all over Sydney - three in a critical condition - but most are not co-operating with police.
"There is not one crime group carrying these out … there are a number of them. It's very much gangster on gangsters kidnappings and it's on the increase,'' an investigator said.
Some hostages have been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight unless they convince someone to pay the ransom.
"They start by asking for millions, but it can be negotiated down,'' the officer said.
One case involves the abduction of a known criminal in Sydney's northwest who ironically ended up being charged himself when police discovered drugs and large sums of cash at his home - which they believe his alleged abductors were after.
In February a gang of kidnappers, one posing as a pizza delivery man, knocked on a door before three others stormed a home in Dundas and snatched convicted cocaine smuggler Vahe Geokjian. He was dumped two days later at Liverpool hospital with serious injuries.
In another case a victim was shot twice during an abduction in southwest Sydney to get information before being found dumped an hour or so later.
In April gunmen entered a house in Strathfield and abducted an Asian crime figure and two associates before they were released unharmed the next day.
"Our intelligence suggests that besides the ones where we have a known victim there have been quite a few others which we can't investigate because there is no evidence of a crime as the victims have paid the ransom and not reported it to the police," the officer said.
Originally published as Police left scrambling as mobsters kidnap, torture each other