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Aussie state police expand "Strike Force Raptor" to target organised crime outside of Sydney
Last Updated: 2018-06-25 14:13 | Xinhua
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Violent motorcycle gangs have been targeted by Australian law enforcement with two new branches of the New South Wales State (NSW) anti gang unit -- Strike Force Raptor -- launched on Sunday.

Now with full-time bases, "Raptor North" and "Raptor South" will aim to improve on the success of the original Sydney-based unit and dismantle organised criminal groups, particularly motorcycle gangs, in their respective regions.

Raptor South will operate in the Illawarra region (100 km south of Sydney) following reports of the attempted revival of a high-profile criminal gang, conducting of illegal operations within prison.

Raptor North in the state's Hunter Valley region (160 km north of Sydney) is a response to an escalation of conflict between rival motorcycle gangs where incidents such as assaults, drive-by-shootings and firebombings have recently occurred.

With both squads consisting of 23 specialist members each, trial operations commenced in April.

"From the outset, the goal of Strike Force Raptor has been to disrupt and disable the activities of criminal networks ... and remove the romanticism of being in a gang -- and we're doing just that," NSW crime commander, acting assistant commissioner, Stuart Smith said.

Since 2009, Strike Force Raptor has made more than 4000 arrests and laid almost 10,000 charges for a variety of offences.

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