Brisbane plans police unit to fight violence by aborigines

A SPECIAL police task force will be set up in Brisbane to deal with the city’s rising violence.

Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, has seen an increase in violence by aborigines against locals, tourists and Asians since last November.

As part of a police blitz on such attacks in the inner city, Fortitude Valley and South Bank, a Public Safety Response team would be formed in two or three months’ time, Assistant Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service Greg Early told The Straits Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

He said that the team of 27 officers would be drawn from the police divisions in Brisbane.

Said Assistant Commissioner Early: “They will perform a reactive and proactive role. People will soon see that we mean business. We are going to clean up the city.”

Police spokesman Ian Hatcher of the Queensland Police Service, who also spoke to The Straits Times, said there had been more than 20 attacks against locals and tourists in the last three months.

In the latest incident two weeks ago, a young English couple were brutally attacked at the Queen Street mall in the city centre.

The two tourists were walking through the mall at about two in the morning when they were attacked by a group of mainly aborigines and whites aged between 12 and 17.

The incident was captured on mall security cameras, said Mr Hatcher, adding that those responsible had been arrested.

He said that there had also been a spate of violence in Fortitude Valley, a major shopping area adjacent to the city centre. He cited an incident in which a group of aborigines attacked a hotel because of a long-standing feud with the hotel’s owner.

Said Mr Hatcher: “They smashed up the furniture and broke the windows to the extent that the owner wanted to close the hotel and put his staff out of work.” There had also been separate attacks on Vietnamese and Chinese residents in the city.

While he could not pinpoint the reasons for the rising violence, he observed that it could be that the aborigines were unhappy with the way the country was run. “Some of the aborigines see Australia as their country and believe they can do what they like.”

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