Daniel Vae & NZ’s War On Drugs

Police have finally managed to apprehend Daniel Vae, a patched member of the King Cobras, at an address in suburban Glenfield, North Shore, Auckland.

The operation was one of those textbook AOS raids, a ‘surgical strike’ into the heart of an otherwise peaceful neighbourhood, but two previous attempts to capture Vae last week (in Grey Lynn and Mount Roskill) weren’t so elegant and  involved the use of tear gas.

Despite having searched a number of properties, presumably all of which may have offered him refuge, police have played down suggestions that there is a King Cobra chapter established on the North Shore, although there is the taint of gang activity there already with the Bloods and Crips at Glenfield College (see news report) and the Killer Beez.

In a North Shore Times report we are told:

“Detective sergeant Callum McNeill of Auckland Central’s organised crime unit says the King Cobras have about 300 patched members based in a factory-like building in Grey Lynn. He says they have west and south Auckland chapters and “hundreds of associates, some of whom live on the Shore”. “There’s nothing to suggest a north chapter. He believed it would be a safe place to hide, on the Shore.”

He went on to give the press a bit more information about how serious this gang is saying that their favoured weapon was a compact semi-automatic that could be concealed in a normal laptop bag.

“The .22 rifles were bought legally with licences. “The crooks are getting their hands on them, taking off the stocks, putting on pistol grips, putting on bigger magazines, and cutting down the barrel and putting on a silencer.” They are also getting Chinese tasers, which were smuggled into the country.” read the full report here

Last Saturday Auckland’s NZ Herald broke the news “Police tip bloodshed” saying that armed turf wars between Asian organised crime, street dealers and gangs could result in the spilling of blood.

According to DS McNeill, Vae had allegdly been taxing low-level methamphetamine dealers who were selling drugs near the King Cobra’s Grey Lynn headquarters.

Gangs demand $30,00o in taxes for dealing on their patch, failure to comply would mean the gang would beat-up the dealers and steal their drugs and money. However, a uneasy relationship between the Asian gangs (who import was pseudoephedrine) and local gangs (who buy it to cook meth) was starting to unravel.

“Some of the gangs are ripping off the Asians, who are starting to arm themselves too. So they’re all carrying guns when they’re doing these deals. It’s not going to be long before there is a shooting.”

Just how long New Zealand’s police can remain unarmed when faced with such well armed opposition is open to debate, but the AOS cannot be in all places at all times. The day must surely come when every NZ police officer will have access to a firearm.

Read more about:

The Armed Offender Squad

Gangs of New Zealand (Wikiepedia)

Gangs in New Zealand (Time magazine)

Ross Kemp on Gangs –  videos in the side bar