Monday, May 26, 2008

Pssst! Wanna Score Some Fully Heaps Wicked Sea Cucumber?

UnderCrabby : Organised Crime Gangs Now Stealing Fish

"I don't know nothing about no crime gangs, man..."

Sure, there might be lots of money made to be made dealing cocaine and crystal meth, but if you were a gangster would you really want to spend your weekends hanging with all those gacked-out, self-obsessed, motor-mouthed film and fashion industry arseholes?

Hell no.

It might not be as perceivably glamorous as snorting rails off the shuddering chest of a tweaking Kate Moss wannabe in a limo on the way to the Logies, but ripping off oyster racks at 3am and hijacking fresh catches of barramundi, and then selling them to a favoured Chinatown restaurant, or Uncle Maurie's fish n' chip shop, is quickly becoming the new wave in profitable action for crime gangs :

Mud crabs, prawns and barramundi are among prized species being targeted by organised crime groups to fuel an illicit domestic seafood market.

Thieves - including bikie gangs - are moving beyond abalone and shark fin to native and coral fish, oysters, eel, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and seahorses, a study by the Australian Institute of Criminology warns.

The chief targets in NSW are oysters, eels and deep-sea species such as tuna. Aquaculture farms are also victims. The main tactics are sending illicit catch to legitimate processors in Sydney and Queensland, and stealing other people's catches.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs are infiltrating the industry in some states. Bikies are believed to have been involved in pearl theft in Western Australia, the trading of fishing licences in the Northern Territory and abalone poaching in South Australia.

The study was prompted by research showing there had been growth in organised crime involving abalone and rock lobster, and an increase in criminals using the industry to launder money and make drugs at aquaculture farms.