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Sydney gang war: Why bikie underworld has moved to Rhodes and Wentworth Point and north shore

Sydney crime figures are fleeing the bullet-ridden streets of the city’s west for life in leafy harbourside suburbs, but moving sometimes makes them more of a target.

Lone Wolf bikie Yusuf Nazlioglu was gunned down on Monday when a killer lying in wait opened fire in the car park of his waterside apartment in upmarket Rhodes.

The 40-year-old – who was cleared of murdering former Comanchero president Mick Hawi in a hit outside a Rockdale gym in 2018 – died 12 hours later.

Jade Nazlioglu, his wife of just four months, was seen sobbing and wailing in the foyer of their slick apartment block as emergency services fought to save his life.

Yusuf Nazlioglu, 40, was gunned down in his Rhodes apartment complex on Monday in front of his wife of four months, Jade (pictured together)

Bandidos’ former national sergeant-at-arms John Fahey was also seized by cops in a dawn raid on his plush unit in Wentworth Point

Bandidos’ former national sergeant-at-arms John Fahey was also seized by cops in a dawn raid on his plush unit in Wentworth Point 

But he’s just the latest underworld identity to try to hide out in so-called safe houses in anonymous new-build suburbia.

Many have now abandoned the sleazy life of bikie gang clubhouses in the city’s south-west which were easy targets for both underworld rivals and the police.

Now they hope to blend in among the bland life of upmarket family-friendly neighbourhoods – while still staying close to their powerbase in the city’s west.

But a move to a new world of Ikea furniture stores and Oliver Brown cafes rarely disguises their gritty background in violent crime. 

And instead, Sydney’s designer-clad and heavily-tattooed gangsters and bikies can often stand out even more.

Maroubra Comanchero gang member John Devine, once a police person of interest in the killing of fellow bikie Faalau Pisu, 23, from the rival Milperra chapter, was an easy target in the inner-west.

A police manhunt for Ricky Barbaro led to tense stand-off after his girlfriend Ellie Price was found dead at her south Melbourne townhouse

A police manhunt for Ricky Barbaro led to tense stand-off after his girlfriend Ellie Price was found dead at her south Melbourne townhouse

While heading to work in Rhodes, Devine – cousin of Comanchero supremo Mark Buddle – was picked out by the hitmen stalking him.

They gunned him down in the street in 2012, although he managed to survive.

Ricky Barbaro, 33, was traced to a luxury penthouse in Wentworth Point

Ricky Barbaro, 33, was traced to a luxury penthouse in Wentworth Point

Ricky Barbaro, brother of notorious mobster Pasquale who was shot dead in Earlwood in 2014, turned up in Wentworth Point, neighbouring Rhodes, when he was accused of murdering his girlfriend.

Ellie Price’s body lay for a week before it was discovered – by which time Barbaro had fled north.

A police manhunt traced him to a luxury penthouse overlooking the Parramatta River and arrested him after a tense stand-off in the early hours of the morning in 2020. His case is before the courts.

Former Bandidos national sergeant-at-arms John Fahey was also dramatically arrested by cops in a dawn raid on his plush unit in Wentworth Point. 

Emergency services cart Yusuf Nazlioglu out of the Rhodes building on Monday after he was shot up to ten times in the head and chest

Emergency services cart Yusuf Nazlioglu out of the Rhodes building on Monday after he was shot up to ten times in the head and chest 

Insiders say the criminals are drawn to the obscurity of Sydney's sleepy suburbs and the ability to hide among families (pictured, Wentworth Point)

Insiders say the criminals are drawn to the obscurity of Sydney’s sleepy suburbs and the ability to hide among families (pictured, Wentworth Point)

The heavily tattooed hardman had moved to the tranquil suburb after he said he was turning his back on his life of crime to focus on rugby league coaching.

But police swooped on the bikie enforcer’s apartment in 2016 after a massive pub brawl left one man punched senseless and another kicked in the head.

In another incident, Fahey was also charged with a brutal confrontation in a shopping centre where he spontaneously bought a baseball bat to attack a rival.

Alleged drug smuggling kingpin Mostafa Baluch also tried to hide his criminal connections by living a lie in the suburbs.

He set up his base in idyllic Bayview in Sydney’s northern beaches, in a sprawling mansion home overlooking Pittwater and Scotland Island.

To his neighbours, Baluch, 33, appeared to be a millionaire restauranteur, but police allege he was the mastermind behind a 900kg coke importation worth $270million.

He allegedly tried to flee the country after he was charged, vanishing in the night amid claims he had been kidnapped before he was allegedly found hiding in a Mercedes inside a shipping container being transported interstate.

Insiders say the criminals are drawn to the obscurity of Sydney’s sleepy suburbs and the ability to live a quiet life among families.

One said: ‘It’s a very quiet, very nice place.’

Which is just the way those who dwell in the underworld want it – although it rarely seems to give them the protection they constantly hope it does.

Alleged drug smuggling kingpin Mostafa Baluch also tried to hide his criminal connections by living a lie in the suburbs, posing as a millionaire restaurateur with a mansion in Bayview

Alleged drug smuggling kingpin Mostafa Baluch also tried to hide his criminal connections by living a lie in the suburbs, posing as a millionaire restaurateur with a mansion in Bayview

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