Three men have been charged and police are searching for a fourth more than a year after the bloody war between Sydney crime families allegedly spilled into the baggage carousel of an airport on the NSW North Coast.
Police allege members of the Hamzy and Alameddine gangs had a dust-up after disembarking a plane from Sydney to Ballina in February last year. One of the five men allegedly involved, Ghassan Amoun, was shot dead 11 months later.
The five men allegedly began throwing punches about 12.15pm at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport in front of families waiting to collect their luggage.
A police source with knowledge of the incident said it was promptly broken up by security, but CCTV footage was “disturbing” and showed a mother and child nearby fleeing screaming from the scene.
Another group of men then turned up and accompanied two of the five men from the airport, NSW Police said in a statement.
Initial inquiries were launched by officers from the Richmond police district, before they turned the matter over to detectives from State Crime Command’s criminal groups squad, who launched an investigation under Strike Force Newnham.
In January this year, Ghassan Amoun, the brother of notorious gang leader Bassam Hamzy, was shot dead in a targeted attack outside a western Sydney beauty clinic following a short stint in prison. His murder remains unsolved.
There is no suggestion that the men involved in the brawl had anything to do with Amoun’s death.
Nearly 18 months after the brawl, strike force detectives arrested three men, aged 31, 39 and 41, at police stations across Sydney on Wednesday. Each was charged with affray and granted conditional bail. All three are due to appear in Sydney courts next month.
A fourth man remains wanted by police over the incident as investigations continue. NSW Police are asking anyone with mobile phone footage to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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