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Hunt deepens for those who ordered 'hit' on Bankstown lawyer Ho Ledinh

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 14/02/2018 Daniel Proudman & Georgina Mitchell

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Homicide Squad detectives investigating the execution murder of Bankstown solicitor Ho Ledinh have quickly moved from targeting the alleged hitman and onto a new hunt - tracking down those who may have ordered the public slaying.

As murder accused Arthur Kelekolio decided against appearing in Central Local Court on Wednesday, Strike Force Eugene investigators were continuing to build up a background picture of the suspected hitman.

It will include identifying those who Mr Kelekolio, who was also named in court papers as Arthur Keleklio, was in contact with in the weeks before solicitor Ho Ledinh was gunned down as he sat at the Happy Cup cafe on January 23.

Arthur Kelekolio was arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder. © Facebook Arthur Kelekolio was arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder. Strike Force Eugene detectives will allege the 38-year-old, who was living with his parents at Hammondville in Sydney's west, was employed to kill Mr Ledinh.

However, the motive for the alleged "hit" remains unclear.

Mr Ledinh died on the pavement after being shot up to four times as he sat with friends at the popular Bankstown City Plaza cafe at 3.35pm on January 23.

Horrified onlookers ducked for cover as the gunman, dressed in a hi-vis jacket, sunglasses and hat, made his escape.

Bankstown lawyer Ho Ledinh. © Facebook Bankstown lawyer Ho Ledinh. During his 20 years practicising law in Bankstown, Mr Ledinh represented a number of well-known organised crime figures.

He was also in a dire financial state, owing a lot of money and being forced to sell the Happy Cup cafe - the business where he was killed.

Mr Ledinh even had to temporarily close his legal practice last year before it reeopened months later.

The murder shocked Sydney's Vietnamese community and the lack of a strong motive continued to cause concern.

But what appeared to have the hallmarks of a drawn out investigation turned quickly on Tuesday, when detectives took Mr Kelekolio into custody as he was about to board a Sydney-Bali flight with a one-way ticket.

The arrest occurred earlier than investigators wished.

Arthur Keleklio, pictured in police custody, has been charged with murder. © Nine News Arthur Keleklio, pictured in police custody, has been charged with murder. Mr Kelekolio was taken to Mascot police station where he was charged with the murder exactly three weeks after Mr Ledinh was gunned down.

Mr Kelekolio's matter was mentioned briefly at Central Local Court on Wednesday.

He did not appear and did not apply for bail.

His lawyer, Adam Houda, had the matter adjourned to Burwood Local Court on April 11.

Mr Houda said nothing to waiting media as he left the court.

Murdered: Bankstown lawyer Ho Ledinh. © Facebook Murdered: Bankstown lawyer Ho Ledinh. Police searched the home of Mr Kelekolio's parents home at Hammondville in Sydney's south-west after Mr Kelekolio was arrested, seizing "items relevant to the investigation".

He will reappear in court in April.

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