|Subject: Gangs paid to stir up violence.
Police sent to islands
December 23, 2006 12:00am Article from: Herald Sun
ETHNIC gangs are paid as little as $5 a day to stir up violent riots in island troublespots that Australian peacekeepers are called upon to quell.
Three Australian Federal Police agents have been hurt and many others terrorised by machete-wielding youths.
The payments are part of an orchestrated plan to create civil unrest to further the political aspirations of key figures in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
Victoria Police officer Ken Dunmill this week told the Herald Sun there was strong intelligence that some of those involved in regular riots and gang violence in East Timor were paid between $5 and $10 a day.
"Someone is paying the rioters. Our belief is that someone is paying them for violence to occur," Sgt Dunmill said.
"I don't know exactly what the motivation is, but it is definitely political. Somebody, or some group, wants there to be civil disobedience in East Timor.
"There are frequent rock fights finished off with people using six-inch nails as darts, plus machete attacks and house burnings.
"I have seen some horrific injuries with machetes. We are seeing a lot of death. The gang violence is getting worse.
"There is a lot of Australia hate building up. We are becoming targets."
AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty this week presented Sgt Dunmill with a bravery award for swimming through a crocodile-infested river to rescue villagers from raging floodwaters.
The Herald Sun this week visited East Timor and the Solomons, and found:
AFP agent Danielle Woodward -- an Olympic canoeing silver medallist -- single-handedly brokered a truce between two warring East Timorese gangs.
THE AFP recently foiled an attempt by an organised crime group to force East Timorese women into sex slavery.
EAST Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta believes UN peacekeepers will have to stay in his troubled country for at least another year.
A MAN charged with inciting the April riots that destroyed most of Chinatown in Honiara, the Solomons capital, was still considered suitable to be its Police Minister.
EVIDENCE suggests Taiwan is continuing to buy influence in Pacific nations by bribing politicians and encouraging civil disobedience.
The head of the police peacekeeping force in the Solomon Islands, AFP agent Will Jamieson, said there evidence rioters in the Solomons had received money.
"We can't be as precise as (talking of) rioters being paid $5 or $10, but certainly there are indications that some of the groups were paid to cause the disturbances," he said. "We have information which indicates there were certain groups that actually were co-ordinated from a politically motivated perspective to cause violence . . . in the streets to disrupt the process of government and democracy."
Agent Jamieson said police were certainly a target for those who rioted in April.
"There was clear organisation, clear co-ordination and clear planning," he said.
"They clearly attacked the police.
"They were trained in how to burn the vehicles, and it's actually not that easy to burn a vehicle."