Vic: Sudanese: above the law in the suburbs

October 04, 2007, Neil Mitchell, Herald Sun

... This week it is about the people in Dandenong, Springvale and Noble Park, but it could just as easily be the western suburbs of Melbourne or a number of other areas around Australia where refugees settle.

It is about fear, violence and even death.

It is about a belief among some long-term Australians that our generosity in allowing people in need to come to this country has damaged what we have and reduced some streets to no-go zones.

There can now be no doubt that there is a serious and developing problem within a section of the Sudanese community, which has led to groups of young men hunting in packs, acting violently and disregarding the law.

Look at the security videos from some shops, as I have.

They show young men brazenly stealing bottles of spirits, waving to the cameras as they do.

They show police with capsicum spray struggling to subdue men while others watch, apparently amused.

They show shop assistants being attacked and threatened.

These are not only Sudanese thugs. There are several races represented.

In January of this year, on these pages, I pleaded for action.

A Sudanese man, Hakeem Hakeem, out of his mind on drugs and inhaled paint fumes, bashed and raped a 63-year-old woman and terrorised a 16-year-old couple.

Local police told of regularly stopping Sudanese drink-drivers who refused to take Australian law seriously because it treated them with decency rather than the brutality they expected.

Now, it is worse. Last week, a young Sudanese man, Liep Gony, was bashed to death in Noble Park and police fear reprisals.

The owner of a bottle shop says he has lost customers, staff and a lot of money through threats, violence and theft.

He wrote to the council, saying: "We have experienced a great increase in crime since migrants have immigrated into this country and settled in the Noble Park area.

"Many of them are continuously looking for problems. They choose not to adapt to the Australian way of life and more annoying they do not like to abide by our laws." ...

SENIOR Detective Dave Logan, from the transit police, speaking to the Berwick Leader:

"Ninety-nine per cent of our assaults, robberies and armed robberies involve the Sudanese."

SECRETARY of the Police Association, Sen-Sgt Paul Mullett, to The Australian:

"The Sudanese are very difficult to deal with. They come from a lawless background and they really have to be educated about Australian society's standards."

ASSISTANT Commissioner Paul Evans, officer in charge of Region 5, which includes Noble Park, speaking with me on 3AW:

"This is a cultural thing. A lot of these people are brought up as warriors in their own country."

Evans, speaking about police activity after the murder of Mr Gony: "We really want to keep a lid on this. It's a bloody awful thing."

COMMUNITY leader Martin Johnson, from the National Democratic Alliance of Sudan, who describes it as cultural shock, where young Sudanese suddenly have freedom and clash with their parents who try to control them:

"We are sorry for what our kids have been doing and sorry for what has been happening to the community in Australia." ...

On-the-street police are quietly nervous and two have been badly injured over recent weeks ...

It is a significant and ugly step to ban refugees on race, but that is what is being done because the problems are racially based.

... there is a responsibility to maintain social harmony and peace within this country.

That is not racist. It is right.