Feeds

Aussie bike bandits may be packing rocket launchers

Army officer busted for flogging weapons on black market

The essential guide to IT transformation

An Australian army captain sold military rocket launchers to underworld arms dealers, according to police in New South Wales, Australia.

The Herald Sun reports that Australian feds and state cops swooped in a series of dawn raids yesterday, nabbing the officer and a former colleague. A 63-year-old woman was also arrested.

According to deputy police commissioner Terry Collins, the seized captain was the "mastermind and a key player in regard to the theft and distribution of these (rocket launchers) to criminal elements".

The apparent existence of a Down Under black market for rocket launchers has been getting sustained media interest in Australia for a while. Alleged backstreet arms dealer Taha Abdul Rahman was arrested in January and charged with a variety of offences relating to seven stolen launchers, after apparently selling one of them to a police nark last year. Australian plods, feds, and spooks are still engaged in an intensive hunt for six weapons which remain unaccounted for.

Rahman was said to have supplied five launchers to convicted murderer Adnan Darwiche, who then sold them on to suspected jihadi terrorist Mohammed Ali Elomar. Reports have been circulating in the Australian media for some time that the remaining un-recovered weapons may have wound up in the hands of outlaw motorbike gangs. Thus far the police have offered no official comment.

The weapons in question are M72 Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs), familiar to fans of the Dirty Harry movie The Enforcer. Older UK servicemen may also recall them under their British name, 66mm anti-tank. The M72 is an obsolesent one-shot unguided rocket of Vietnam-era vintage, supplied in a disposable launch tube. It might have been able to do some harm to older 20th century tanks, but would have little chance of success against modern armour. Even back when it was commonly carried, soldiers wound up using it more against buildings, snipers, bunkers, and so on.

Though scarcely cutting-edge, the M72 is certainly a step up from pistols and sawn-off shotguns, or it would be for most criminals. Outlaw bikers, though, are a bit of a special case, frequently tooling up with military-grade firepower. Partying Hell's Angels were reportedly collared in possession of an anti-tank cannon by Swedish cops last month, for instance, and other European bike chapters have occasionally used heavy ordnance to settle differences.

It could be that The Enforcer won't be the only movie reference this story draws. Mad Max allusions may also be on the cards if speculation is correct and Antipodean bike barbarians now outgun ordinary policemen. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.