A new wave of violent street gangs are wreaking havoc across Melbourne, leaving locals living in fear of machete-wielding thugs hellbent on ruling the city.
According to gang insiders, youths arm themselves with lethal weapons to commit assaults and robberies against civilians and rival gangs, while posting footage of the acts on social media to gain notoriety.
Across Victoria’s capital, 15 gangs have marked their territory – from the ‘Menace to Society’ horde in the west to the ‘Young Reckless Drillaz’ in the east – and more continue to emerge.
Appearing under the pseudonym ‘Zach’, the 15-year-old leader of ‘Young Reckless Drillaz’, stationed in Cranbourne, says his activities started with petty acts before quickly advancing
On Monday night, a teenage gang leader, the mother of a convicted gang member, and a concerned vigilante spoke to A Current Affair about the violence plaguing neighbourhoods across the city.
Appearing under the pseudonym ‘Zach’, the 15-year-old leader of ‘Young Reckless Drillaz’, stationed in Cranbourne, says his activities started with petty acts before quickly advancing.
‘It just started snowballing. Stealing a Kit-Kat would lead to stealing a bike and then stealing a bike leads to rolling someone for their phone,’ he told the program.
‘Knives and knuckledusters are the main weapons used by the Melbourne gangs. A lot of the boys are also using tasers because you’re not going to get done.’
The teenager, who wears a machete holster around his waist, says he enjoys the lifestyle – feeling a sense of belonging to the ‘boys’.
‘There’s not much you can’t get away with when you’re under 18. It’s like a game of cat and mouse. It’s fun being chased by the police,’ he said.
‘Everyone just wants their name to get known. Like ”that’s a tough c***, don’t f*** with him.” They want to go to school and have the chicks and guys be like ”oh he’s tough, you hear what he did on the weekend”?’ he said.
Gang members crowd in pockets stretching from Tarnett, St Albans, and Hoppers Crossing across to Noble Park, Hampton Park and Cranbourne.
Live streamed fights (one pictured) between rival gangs can rack up to 50,000 followers, according to Zach
Vivienne, the mother of another gang member, said her ‘Harry Potter-loving’ son was recruited by the group outside an employment agency.
Her son’s spiral into crime, within the ‘Reds’, landed him in jail at 18 when police found footage of him committing an assault.
Suffering from multiple sclerosis and living in fear of her son’s gang, the Frankston woman sleeps with a nail studded wooden pallet by her bed.
‘Just in case I need it. I can’t chase them, my MS doesn’t allow me to chase them,’ she said.
‘I feel ashamed. I feel like he’s let me down.’
Professional fighter Jono, who resides in the western suburbs, keeps a baseball bat in his boot in case he accosted by teenage assailants.
The teen is part of a new wave of criminals who have been using social media to live stream their antics
He has witnessed brutal attacks on local businesses and says robberies in the area have spiked.
‘We’re not talking about a couple of kids going down to the milk bar and stealing a couple of chocolate bars. We’re talking about kids armed with serious weaponry. They’re untrained, they don’t realise the damage you can do to someone,’ he said.
‘We’ve seen it over and over again when one of these kids do get arrested and are sent before court, they get nothing for it, there is no incentive to stop doing what they are doing.
‘My prediction is that one of these days these youths are going to break into the wrong guy’s house who is going to be armed and someone is going to get killed.’
Zach said that outlaw groups are rising and thriving across all Australian capital cities.
He provided videos to support his claims to A Current Affair, and says more gangs are forming.
The teenager (pictured), who wears a machete holster around his waist, says he enjoys the lifestyle – feeling a sense of belonging to the ‘boys’
Live streamed fights between rival gangs can rack up to 50,000 followers, according to Zach.
Despite public outcry and the ringleader’s claims that gangs are on the rise, police say crime levels are decreasing.
Victoria police said they have set up operations to target youth criminal behaviour and social media intelligence.