SYDNEY (AP) - A gunman opened fire on a senior member of the
Hells Angels, shooting him multiple times outside a Sydney apartment complex in the latest incident in an escalating battle between biker gangs in Australia, police said Monday.
Local media, citing anonymous sources, reported the wounded victim was the brother of a Hells Angel killed in a brazen brawl at Sydney's airport last week. New South Wales state police refused to release the man's identity, but confirmed he was a 32-year-old member of the Hells Angels.
Gangs Squad Commander Superintendent Mal Lanyon said the shooter
in Sunday's incident was probably a rival biker.
"I think it's probably realistic that we will be looking at other motorcycle gangs," Lanyon told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Last week's 15-minute rampage at Sydney's domestic airport thrust long-simmering biker violence into the public eye. Police launched a special unit to combat the growing turf war, saying the gangs had crossed a line by putting members of the public into the line of fire.
Sunday night's incident began when a Hells Angels biker pulled into the driveway of an apartment complex in Sydney, police said. The car was suddenly sprayed with bullets and the biker hit several times. A man was spotted running away from the scene.
The biker was in stable condition at a heavily guarded hospital on Monday, police said.
In last week's airport brawl, Anthony Zervas, the 29-year-old brother of a Hell's Angels leader in Sydney, was bludgeoned to death with metal poles during a fight that erupted between members of the gang and rival Comanchero when they got off a flight from Melbourne.
Five men connected to the Comancheros have been charged in connection with the fight. None of them have been charged directly with the killing.
Over the weekend, the New South Wales government began considering legislation that would allow Supreme Court judges to jail biker gang members caught associating with one another if a gang is outlawed.
Biker gangs have existed in Australia since the late 1960s, and turf battles have ebbed and flowed. Gang members are often accused of being involved in drugs, though gang leaders deny involvement in organized crime and say they cannot control individual actions.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)