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Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sydney's bikie warfare has exploded with a violent brawl between two gangs at Sydney Airport's domestic Qantas terminal

Sydney's bikie warfare has exploded with a violent brawl between two gangs at Sydney Airport's domestic Qantas terminal resulting in one man being bludgeoned to death in front of horrified passengers.The attack happened the same day a drive-by shooting in Sydney's west sent two men to hospital with police investigating if warfare between outlaw motorcycle gangs was to blame.Minutes after a group of men disembarked from a flight that landed about 1.30pm (AEDT) on Sunday, another group confronted them in the arrivals section of the domestic terminal.Witnesses told police an altercation ensued and lasted long enough to make its way upstairs to the departures area.One of the men picked up a portable bollard and repeatedly struck a 29-year-old man over the head, leaving him clinging to life just inside the doors of the terminal.Ambulance officers were called to the scene and treated the man before rushing him to Prince of Wales Hospital, where he later died.Naomi Constantine was waiting to go through security to board a flight to Melbourne when she witnessed the attack."They came running through picking up the big metal barrier poles and swinging them, swinging them like swords at each other," Ms Constantine told ABC Television."I saw one of the men lying on the ground and another man came up with a pole and just started smashing it into his head."Detective Inspector Peter Williams said the brawl involved 15 men from rival bikie gangs and was witnessed by up to 50 horrified passengers."It would appear a group of males have exited a plane and they were met by another group of males who we believe may be other motorcycle gang members," Det Insp Williams told reporters at the airport."A fight ensued, the fight moved through various parts of the terminal to the ultimate location where the man was deceased."Four men were arrested over the incident, while the others fled the airport - some in taxis, witnesses reported.The attack raised questions about the level of security at the Qantas terminal and the reaction time of security officers.
A Sydney Airport Corporation spokesman said: "That terminal is operated and managed by Qantas."A Qantas spokeswoman would not confirm whether the fight began in the departure lounge or outside the security screening area.She was also unable to confirm whether security guards were working within the terminal at the time.
"I'm not at liberty to comment on that," the spokeswoman told AAP.An unnamed passenger told the Nine Network that response from airport security "took a long time to get there".Traffic into the airport was reduced to a crawl for hours at the domestic terminals after roads leading to the T3 departures were cordoned off as a crime scene.The attack followed an incident about 1am (AEDT) on Sunday at Auburn, in Sydney's west, where seven houses in three streets were sprayed with gunfire.An 18-year-old man was shot in the leg and a 17-year-old male was treated for lacerations and then arrested but later released.Police seized two vehicles for forensic examination and said the houses were most likely caught in crossfire and not deliberately targeted.The NSW opposition wants the government to crack down on bikie violence, and introduce tough legislation similar to new South Australian laws.The laws are designed to dismantle criminal bikie gangs by declaring membership or association with outlawed clubs, illegal. The act also includes new charges, which carry up to 10 years jail, for bikie club members and their associates who engage in group violence."This horrific episode must finally force (Premier) Nathan Rees to stop standing by and doing nothing as criminal bikie gang members murder each other in broad daylight in public and put the wider community at risk," Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell told AAP.NSW Police Minister Tony Kelly said the government would consider the South Australia legislation."I will be meeting with the police commissioner and the attorney-general looking at additional laws that we can bring into place to round these people up," Mr Kelly told reporters in Sydney.

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