Fear inside state’s murder capital
BANKSTOWN residents say they are living in fear following the latest brazen shooting on a city street in a region which has seen more murders in recent years than anywhere else in the state.
More murders were committed in the Canterbury-Bankstown region than any other place in New South Wales in 2017, the latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show.
There were 60 murders recorded throughout the state in the 12 months ending September 2017. Eight of them took place in Canterbury-Bankstown. That's compared with Blacktown (5), Bayside (1), Central Coast (5), Parramatta (1), Sydney (1) and Sutherland Shire (1). The number has only continued to rise since the latest crime figures were released.
And just a few weeks into the New Year, the first Bankstown murder victim for 2018 has already been claimed.
The Happy Cup cafe was closed and the street sealed off by crime tape on Wednesday morning after lawyer Ho Ledinh was shot dead in broad daylight one day earlier. The gunman is yet to be identified and remains at large.
Bankstown tobacconist Nick told news.com.au that the previous shooting, of Wally Ahmad in Bankstown Central less than two years ago, and a shootout just before that at nearby Condell Park had instilled fear in residents.
"Look it's deserted, no-one around," Nick said.
"Yes, it makes me nervous that the government is doing nothing about gun crime.
"Where are the police, what is the government doing about guns?
"They spend $120 million on the [same sex] marriage thing and nothing on this?
"At the station there's six or seven officers worried about tickets for the train.
"You get this and there's three helicopters in the sky and they still can't catch the man.
"People are worried, business is dead."
Long term resident Julie Smith said that despite the fact the shooting was targeted, she still worried about guns on the street.
"Sure it would be worse if it was someone random shooting on the street, but you still feel nervous," she said.
"I've lived in Bankstown 40 years and you know that if people get involved in gangs and crime, something like this is likely to happen to them.
"But if you are out there on your own minding your own business you should be fine, unless someone comes up and starts spraying people with bullets."
It wasn't just 2017 which saw the region hold the unenviable title of the state's "murder capital". Canterbury-Bankstown also held the record for the most murders in any NSW Council area in 2016. One life was taken almost every month in the region during that period with 11 people murdered there in 2016 - six in Bankstown and five in Canterbury. Almost 20 per cent of the state's 63 murders in 2016 occurred in Canterbury-Bankstown.
A Bankstown resident was was born in New Zealand told news.com.au he felt the police should be doing more to crack down on gun crime.
"If it was back in New Zealand we'd just get the Mongrel Mob [a gang] to bring the man in."
Bankstown's Paul Keating Park employee Carol said she found the shooting "unnerving".
"For all the locals they must be worried. There's a lot of elderly people here, a big Asian community as well as Lebanese people and for them it would be unnerving.
"I have been working here for years, but I find I'm now looking around me when I'm walking."
Real estate agent Joe said he knew the victim who he described as "high profile".
"I've had a few dealings with him and he was a good operator," Joe said.
"He did represent some of the criminal elements in the Vietnamese community.
"He was very competent, very polite.
"I have been working in Bankstown for 27 years and you mind your own business, you respect people, you don't eyeball them.
"If you do that it's not really a worry. You get crime in other suburbs.
"In Bankstown it gets beaten out of all proportion because of the high ethnic population."