Tele: Gang kidnapping biggest NSW crime trend of 2020, report finds

NSWCC Annual Report: https://www.crimecommission.nsw.gov.au/files/nsw-crime-commission-annual-report-2019-2020.pdf

Gangsters kidnapping gangsters and paying large ransoms in illegal drugs was the biggest trend in organised crime in NSW in 2020.

The NSW Crime Commission will be hauling known Sydney crime figures into secret hearings over the kidnappings.

In its annual report, the NSWCC said the kidnappings were the most significant trend in organised crime operations detected by the commission in the past 12 months.

“The Commission is aware of over a dozen cases in which the victims are alleged to have an involvement in organised crime in NSW,’’ the report stated.

“Victims are detained by force and in many cases, it is alleged that large sums of money have been paid for their release. In some cases, the Commission has information that ransoms are ‘paid’ in the form of prohibited drugs,” it said.

CCTV captured before a Dundas Valley man was kidnapped in February.

The report went on to say in many cases the victims were tortured during their kidnapping in an attempt to get family members to pay the ransom.

“The violence inflicted upon the victims in several cases was severe and, in most cases, the victims were unwilling to co-operate with police investigations,’’ it said.

Police were eventually contacted only when it became apparent they could not pay the amount needed to secure their release.

“Several cases were ultimately reported after friends and/or relatives were unable to negotiate the release of the victims privately,’’ he said.

The Daily Telegraph first revealed the kidnappings in February when a former convicted drug dealer Vahe Geokjian was kidnapped from his home in Dundas Valley and tortured before being dumped near Liverpool Hospital.

Geokjian, who since his conviction has established a successful car repair business and property development business.

Since then there have been reports of million dollar ransoms being paid to the kidnappers all over Sydney.

Earlier this year Strike Force Trichbourne was established by the NSW Robbery and Serious Crime Squad working with the NSW Crime Commission. In the past six months more than 10 people have been arrested and nearly 50 charges laid in relation to a number of abductions.

At least three of the victims have been left in a critical condition, some had petrol poured over them and most are not co-operating with police.

In October, one man was kidnapped and held for ransom with the kidnappers asking for millions of dollars. His father was unable to meet the demands. Police were called in and eventually recovered his son badly beaten two days later.

The crime commission said it would be conducting secret hearings into the kidnappings in the future. It has the power to jail anyone that doesn’t co-operate with them or refuses to answer questions.

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