Three charged following release of Cronulla riot wanted photographs

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Three men have been arrested and a further six "positively identified" following the public release of photographs showing "persons of interest" to police in relation to the Sydney riots last year.

A 20-year-old man from Warilla, a suburb of Wollongong, handed himself into police yesterday after seeing his photograph in a newspaper. He was subsequently charged with riot and affray.

An 18-year-old man from Bella Vista was arrested in a Baulkham Hills hotel yesterday afternoon after he was identified by the public. A 33-year-old Miranda man was also charged after handing himself into police last night. He will appear in Sutherland Local Court today.

Following the release of the photographs on March 8, police have received information from the public identifying seven of those wanted in relation to the riots.

New South Wales police minister Carl Scully yesterday urged the others to turn themselves into police before being arrested. "I'd say to those people, save yourselves the embarrassment and turn up to a police station", he said.

Police and the police minister have also criticised Sydney's middle eastern community for failing to assist in identifying men wanted for revenge attacks after the riots.

"Generally speaking, when Caucasians are put on the front pages of newsletters, they're identified", said Mr Scully.

"And unfortunately, when footage is presented of people of Middle Eastern background, we get zip."

A spokesman from the Lebanese Friendship Association said that the middle eastern community was being persecuted. "We are sick and tired of people saying why aren't we doing enough", said Keysar Trad.

"If the beat police can't recognise them, then the chances of anyone recognising them are very, very slim."

Other Muslim leaders urged parents to question their children and hand them into police if they suspect they took part in the revenge attacks which occurred after the riot. Lebanese Muslim Association spokesman Abdul El Ayoubi said parents should have questioned their children when the events first occurred.

"If (their children) were involved then they have a duty to take them in", he said.

"What they have done now, might be nothing to what they could do next time."

The NSW Islamic Council has also backed Mr Ayouvi's calls.

Detective Superintendent Ken McKay, the head of strike force Enoggera which is investigating the riots, said he was confident of making many more arrests over coming days thanks to the assistance of the public. "It wouldn't surprise me if we had, within the next day or two, the majority of them." he said yesterday.

"I'm confident (of arresting all 20). If I was a betting man I'd be running at close to odds-on."

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: 2005 Sydney race riots

"Police release photographs of those of interest in connection with Cronulla riots" — Wikinews, March 8, 2006