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Apex crime gang declared a 'non-entity' by Victoria Police

ABC News logo ABC News 12/04/2017 By Sarah Farnsworth

The gang hit the headlines during the 2016 Moomba riots. © Provided by ABC News The gang hit the headlines during the 2016 Moomba riots. Victoria Police have declared the Apex crime gang a "non-entity" saying it is no longer and never was predominantly African.

Giving evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said at its peak the gang consisted of about 130 people who loosely claimed to be members.

He said it was now in recession and was not made up of one or two ethnicities, but from people from a range of backgrounds.

"Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said

Police said they now believed they had "broken the back" of the gang.

"We have charged the leaders of that gang and imprisoned them," he said.

"We would call them a non-entity in terms of a gang."

The spectre of Apex came to prominence at the Moomba riots in 2016, when youths ran amok in the CBD and thrust the idea of migrant crime to the forefront.

In its first incarnation, the gang was named after a Dandenong Street and was made up of South Sudanese and Pacific Islanders.

The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal MP, and former police officer, Jason Wood who has been outspoken about the so-called threat of Apex and migrant crime gangs in Melbourne and called for the Federal Government to crack down.

However, the inquiry heard after the Moomba riots it morphed into an all encompassing group loosely linked through social media.

Deputy Commissioner Patton said the carjackings, home invasions and jewellery store robberies that have plagued Melbourne are being carried out by criminals from all backgrounds.

"Over 50 per cent of them are Australians," he repeated when questioned by Mr Wood.

Commander of Victoria Police's anti-gangs division, Peter De Santo, said there may be "some remnants" of the Apex gang but they have morphed into "networked offending" linked by social media.

He added that Middle Eastern crime gangs had recruited some "disadvantaged youth" but it was the exception to the rule.

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