On Tuesday night, four shots were fired into the front of a Wetherill Park home. Inside a woman and her two children were sleeping. This incident was the ninth shooting to take place in Sydney in eight days. NSW Police have not laid any charges and have voiced their frustration, blaming the “wall of silence” in the community.

It ain't Double Bay, but at least the criminals don't pretend to be respectable. Pic: Bob Barker.

On Saturday, 25 May 2002, a man shot and wounded seven people including a child attending a wedding at a restaurant in Cabramatta. There were 140 witnesses in the New World Restaurant but no one was able, or willing, to give a clear description of the gun man.

It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As a Fairfield Councillor between 1999-2008, I remember the spate of gun violence that occurred at the height of Cabramatta’s drug and crime problems. The situation today may not be identical to Cabramatta, but there are certainly similarities, and definitely lessons learnt then that might help now.

To me, this wall of silence is built on both sides. Neither side is blameless.

Migrants, particularly refugees, often fear and distrust the corrupt and ruthless authorities from the places they have fled. If you get into a car accident in Vietnam, people sort it out between themselves. They avoid involving the police who can make matters worse, impose harsh fines, or need to be paid off.

That distrust is carried to Australia. A journalist friend of mine who covered one of the recent Sydney shootings said that some in the community “feel the cops can’t protect them and that [they think] they’re not there to protect them”.

This fear is compounded by ignorance of the local law and judicial system. If you’re going to give evidence against someone wielding a gun, you’d want to make sure you and your family will be protected. But how can you be sure if you don’t speak English and know nothing about the judicial system you’re relying on?

The NSW Police can’t hold their head up high when it comes to breaking down cultural barriers either. They can send the top brass and ethnic liaison officers to cultural festivals like Lunar New Year, Diwali and Eid celebrations, but there should be more engagement with the community after that.

And often the police don’t reflect the multicultural communities they protect. But it’s not the attitude of police representatives that make a difference on the street. It’s what happens when an officer interviews the victims and witnesses.

Back in 2002, the owner of the New World Restaurant asked me to come as a local government councillor to be there and help if needed during his interview with the police investigating the shooting. He claimed the police were treating him like a criminal.

When I arrived at the restaurant the atmosphere was tense and I felt the investigating officers were openly hostile to my presence. I put that down to them not wanting an outsider to interfere, insecurity that a politician might challenge them, and fear of what I might say to the media later.

The situation in Cabramatta only improved when local community leaders agitated for change. When we successfully lobbied for the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into policing in Cabramatta, this provided the motivation for both sides to work more collaboratively.

The police were held accountable, and the community, having successfully gotten the attention of the state government, had to come forward and speak up. Local community leaders accepted their responsibility, understanding at last the vital role they have to play.

Refugees who have settled in Australia need to understand their rights and responsibilities in their new home. Ignorance and fear can only be overcome by understanding how things work. Community leaders need to encourage this, and the police need to make an effort to better understand the communities they’re protecting.

These crimes will be more effectively investigated if the community and police have more trust and understanding in each other. Until this happens, the media and the community will blame the police, and the police will continue to shift responsibility back on to the community.

The wall of silence can only be broken down from both sides.

Thang Ngo (Twitter: @ThangNgo) features in the SBS series Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta concluding this Sunday 22 January at 8.30pm on SBS ONE (a Vietnamese subtitled version will be simulcast on SBS TWO).

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74 comments

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    • Erick says:

      05:05am | 20/01/12

      This is an excellent article. Instead of blaming Australian racism or ethnic criminality, it seeks to promote genuine understanding from both sides. We need more of this!

    • LeftRightOut® says:

      07:03am | 20/01/12

      Except, there hasn’t been a Vietnamese refugee for what… 40 years?
      Seems to me the ignorance excuse is complete bollocks. The wall of silence is more cultural, having lived in Asia, there is a wall of silence culture [when it comes to the authorities] right across the region. In Cabramatta’s case, fear of retribution explains much of the silence.

      The fact that he mentions “police were held accountable” - for what? Police weren’t running around shooting people, police weren’t selling the heroin that is awash in the streets in Cabramatta (around all of Sydney, Cabramatta being the epicentre of Heroin distribution).

      I used to travel on the train past Cabramatta station every week, the rubbish I saw walk on to the train, having just “scored” would make your eyes pop.

      Apart from the obvious problems in the area with Ethnic based gang crime, it’s a pretty good place to be for the food and shopping grin

    • Bertrand says:

      07:48am | 20/01/12

      +1 to Erick

    • MarkS says:

      08:13am | 20/01/12

      He also has a very good point about the way that police deal with people. They tend to come the heavy with just about everybody. I have seen it time & again, domineering impolite behaviour. Give people a gun & a uniform, make them the physical hand of the power of the state & they act like a bunch of storm troopers. Power corrupts.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:18am | 20/01/12

      @LeftRightOut

      I think you will find there are Vietnamese refugees currently in detention at the moment.

      I think he means accountable for their actions. I know a police officer here in Sydney that really dislikes Arabs so any chance he gets he’ll hassle them for the sake of it.

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      08:22am | 20/01/12

      It would be a lot easier if we stuck to importing people with similar ethics and customs.

    • Anna C says:

      08:27am | 20/01/12

      I agree with LeftRightOut® .  I think all new migrants should have to attend an induction class when they first arrive and be informed of their rights and responsibilities.  We need to emphasise to them that the Police and other Government authorities are not to be feared but are here to help them, as a way of building trust. In many parts of Asia, Africa, Middle East etc the police and government authorities are corrupt, brutal and feared; so it’s only natural that they come here expecting us to behave in the same way.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:50am | 20/01/12

      @Anna C
      Those classes already exist. The article mainly refers to the Vietnamese people who came here in the 70s and what they faced in Cabramatta.

      You would hard pressed to find their kids having the same suspicions of the police as they did.

      You are right in saying a lot of the police in the countries you mentioned actually kill their own people.

    • wearestardust says:

      09:16am | 20/01/12

      I agree with Erick.

      Wait!  Is that the sound of four approaching horsemen I hear?

    • Mark says:

      11:37am | 20/01/12

      “Migrants, particularly refugees, often fear and distrust the corrupt and ruthless authorities from the places they have fled”
      The distrust is warranted. Street level police arresting “foot soliders,” taking the drugs and then selling them instead was a very common occurrence in the early 2000’s- This is what breeds mistrust, if you see or hear of that happening once, why would you place your safety with these police who, in this case, were more criminal than the guys selling the heroin? It’s a logical thought progression which many of you, who have probably never seen a drug deal or had to deal with police, can’t see. Couple that with the common practise of bribing police in Asia, where these people are from, and why WOULD you trust the uniform? Bit of perspective, please.
      “Police weren’t running around shooting people, police weren’t selling the heroin that is awash in the streets in Cabramatta”
      And that shows your ignorance.. How would someone who doesn’t use know who is selling heroin and where it’s coming from? Oh, that’s right, the news paper said so didn’t it.. Just because you assume something to be true doesn’t mean it is, LRO. Assuming police are there to help gives them tacit approval to use whatever means to get whatever ends they want. Once they know this, all they need is to convince the general public “it’s for your own good.” Alas, we have been chasing drug traffickers for 40 years and even with zero success and even with the history surrounding prohibition in America, we still can’t see the forest for the trees. Probably naive of me to treat people as logical/ rational human beings when blatant hypocrisies like that still exist and are believed and spread by the public. Shows that the average human being is a sponge for propaganda, and the illusion of intelligence has made them tools for converting the masses.
      Rant Complete

    • Cynicised says:

      02:15pm | 20/01/12

      @ wearestardust. Haha! Oh, gosh, I agree too! Maybe those 2012 predictions are true after all! Eek!

      *begins building an ark*

    • jade (the other one) says:

      04:39pm | 20/01/12

      Yet you criticised an article regarding police officers doing the exact same thing with the indigenous community in Redfern just a few days ago.

      What’s the difference here?

    • Don says:

      05:16am | 20/01/12

      The wall of silence is the most integrals things to have in an area of high crime. It pretty well nullifies the legal system and allows the strong to wreak havoc with impunity. I really hope they manage to overcome this as the stakes couldn’t be higher.

    • Gratuitous Adviser says:

      06:05am | 20/01/12

      I suppose you are right but it must be extremely frustrating for the police to turn up at a probable ethnic shootemup (there are a lot of these) with 140 witnesses and have “no one was able, or willing, to give a clear description of the gun man” and then be “held accountable” at the scene by an articulate media savvy politician, no less, for “not understanding” the communities they are protecting.  Of course the police have difficulty reasoning (a more accurate word then “understanding”) why 140 people will not assist them in a finding a gunman that tried to shoot them, while they we eating.  Like always, the police are in a no-win position but at least they get paid well (sic) by the state and obviously respected by the people of Cabramatta and their “community leaders”.

    • LeftRightOut® says:

      07:05am | 20/01/12

      Dripping with sarcasm, GA… just the way I like it.

    • Ben C says:

      10:01am | 20/01/12

      @ Gratuitous Adviser

      The community of Cabramatta these days have a strong relationship with police - look at how well the place has been cleaned up in the past 15 years.

      It’s the lessons that we can take from Cabramatta that need to be applied to the current situation.

    • Charlie says:

      08:14am | 21/01/12

      It has been cleaned up but it could be alot better than it is. I hold a position of authority and the community and i have noticed that people just dont seem to care about their local area or the people around them. Ever heard the term dont shit in your backyard? Ive seen people literally dumping shit in back lanes behind their businesses, they just dont care. And believe me they are often business owners with a fair bit of money, speak good english and fairly well educated. You would think they would want to have a good image for their business.

    • cars says:

      05:51pm | 23/01/12

      @ GA You seem to have missed the point of the whole article. The job of the police force is not just to turn up at the scene of a crime and get answers. Part of their job is community engagment. They should have no trouble reasoning, if you insist on the term, why 140 people will not assist in finding a gunman. It’s a blatant lack of trust. For things to change, both sides have to change, exactly like the article says.
      You seem to have no idea, and a racist bent.

    • Hoob says:

      06:12am | 20/01/12

      If they don’t want assistance, don’t help them.

    • yourname says:

      06:56am | 20/01/12

      This course of action would have the potential to turn Cabramatta into a comparable location in Sudan, where it is every armed gang for itself and little sign of an effective government. Thank you for your suggestion, but I do not think this would be a desirable state of affairs for any Australian region.

    • Morgana says:

      06:24am | 20/01/12

      This issue is a great worry to any resident of N.S.W. I live in Newcastle a short hop from Sydney. It is only a matter of time if these people are not caught and punished severely that this rot will spread. When I hear “Middle Eastern Gang” I shudder, if caught they should be deported. Australians should not have to live in fear from anyone. Barry O’Farrell need to act and act swiftly to make sure these people when caught feel the full wrath of the law. Change laws if need be but get this under control. The Police I am sure are doing their best to stop this continuing, but its hard when no one will talk to them

    • Nathan says:

      07:14am | 20/01/12

      “When I hear “Middle Eastern Gang” I shudder, if caught they should be deported” Deported where exactly most of them are Australian citizens and born here.

      “The Police I am sure are doing their best to stop this continuing, but its hard when no one will talk to them”    I think you have more faith in our police than i do, but they simply aren’t doing enough and that is the point. They need be visible in the community making relationships and build the trust required. Obviously this is a two way street, but i don’t know if i witnessed a shooting and know they are regular if i would be putting my hand up to talk to the cops.

    • TChong says:

      07:27am | 20/01/12

      Morgana
      relax !!!!
      you seem a little scared .
      Sidnee is not gripped by some wave of terror.
      Out of aprox 3 million people, this affects a tiny , tiny minority, and mostly those who are willing participants.
      Ofcourse there is a potential for the public to be hurt , and these criminal gangs need removing , but dont worry, a murderous alliance of Vietnamese Triads, ME crimis and would -be “1% Outlaw Bikers” aint revving engines to head up the F3 to attack newcastle.
      Dont believe everything you read in The Telegraph, or see on Channel 10 news.

    • MarkS says:

      08:07am | 20/01/12

      People who are not Australian citizens & who are convicted of serious crimes are already deported. Some of them have lived in Australia for decades. Fair enough, do the crime, not a citizen, good bye. But we cannot deport citizens.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:22am | 20/01/12

      Coming from Newcastle you should be more worried about the white bikie gangs mainly the Rebels up there who control the tattoo parlors, strip clubs and drug trade.

    • Michael says:

      09:56am | 20/01/12

      Face palm at Simon.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      10:06am | 20/01/12

      @Michael

      Nice comment, added a lot to the conversation.

    • LouBee says:

      01:14pm | 20/01/12

      The problem is, we make migrants/refugees Australian citizens way way too quickly in this country, especially without having the resources to conduct a full and thorough background check and also faced with little to no credible documentation

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:30am | 20/01/12

      A good article, but geez the cops do it tough.  Can we understand that they are human, working with limited resources and are mostly trying to do the best job they could?

      “Being held accountable” for what?  I would be on my guard if a media savvy politician walked in while I was trying to do my job as well.

    • marley says:

      07:35am | 20/01/12

      Well, I think it’s fair enough to say that the police need to try to work with the community.  But the fact that the police don’t have the same ethnic composition as the populations they police isn’t the fault of the police. If you want more Vietnamese or Lebanese or Sudanese cops, then hold the communities accountable for making sure their youngsters see policing as a career possibility.  The cops can’t go out and pressgang people to join up.

    • AdamC says:

      09:03am | 20/01/12

      Mahhrat, that was my reaction to this, too. Police are human beings, and their lived experiences will colour their methods. If members of particular ethnic communities are unwilling to talk to the cops, the relationship will naturally become more hostile, like in those American Court shows - “Permission to treat the witness as hostile, Your Honour?”

      I am also a little sceptical of this “afraid of the authorities” explanation for mass refusal to co-operate with investigations. This is because, normally people are in the habit of co-operating with people who successfully intimidate them. How many times have supposedly coerced confesstions been challenged on that basis? The more likely explanations for a wall of silence phenomenon are:

      1) People, perhaps quite reasonably, feel the police will be unable to protect them from well-organised, well-resourced gangsers; or

      2) They have an ‘us and them’ mentality and see their own community as a greater focus of their loyalty than wider society. Therefore, they may be refuse to dob in ‘their’ people to the bad guys (i.e, us).

      Explanation 1) is quite understandable in certain circumstances, and suggests police and policy failure. Explanation 2) is a fairly constant concern of those who question the benefits of multiculturalism, especially the fixation of the multiculturalist state on promoting tribalism and identity politics.

    • Yuri says:

      10:13am | 20/01/12

      @AdamC

      I totally agree with your points. It is more likely to be people are afraid of criminals or have and ‘us vs. them’ mentality, than they are simply afraid of the police.

    • James1 says:

      11:14am | 20/01/12

      My Nana was terrified of Australian police largely because she assumed they were little different to the Black and Tans.  That kind of irrational fear based on past experiences in other countries does exist, although it doesn’t hold much explanatory power when it comes to the second and third generations.

      It goes the other way to.  A Malaysian friend of mine was surprised that some Australian police who pulled him over recently weren’t just after a quick $100, and were actually serious about giving him a ticket.  He genuinely couldn’t understand why they got angry when he offered them money.

      We all bring our cultural assumptions and experiences with us wherever we go.

    • Mark says:

      02:27pm | 20/01/12

      Guys, it works both ways. Acknowledging that policemen are human is fine as long as the laws and expectations reflect that. They currently are not. Also, do police ever think they might be wrong about something?? Ha!!
      Reform is a two way street and I’d like to think the police and politicians who create them would “be the bigger men” in this case. After all, they are our leaders and are worthy of admiration, no?? Ha

    • Greg says:

      06:55am | 20/01/12

      Seems like we don’t learn from the past. This ain’t the first time Sydney’s had a shooting crime wave and not the first time I’ve heard the wall of silence.

      Shouldn’t we make apply what we learnt each time?! It’s like we’re back to square one all the time.

    • MarkS says:

      08:04am | 20/01/12

      Some time ago a man walked out of the public bar Coogee Bay hotel & shot another man at the lights. Lots of people around, nobody saw anything. The area is not ethnic.

      The reason? Drug dealing was common place, I recall being offered three types of drugs before I managed to buy a beer in the public bar. Everybody know the drug dealers were protected. The police station was only a couple of hunderd metres up the road. Nobody wanted to die.

      Police do not protect anybody, they only try to arrest people after the crime has been committed. To the extent they do have powes to protect, they refuse to use them. After all if you are protected from the criminal they cannot arrest said crim for killing you.

    • Lucy says:

      07:49am | 20/01/12

      For a moment there I thought I was reading an article from my distant youth in the 70s/80s.  I am sorry Thang, but the simplistic argument that the ongoing wall of silence in relation to Cabramatta crime is rooted in a fear of police and authority inherited from the Vietnamese homeland is simply irrelevant to what is happening in relation to second generation Australians some 30 years after the first wave of Vietnamese refugees arrived in Australia.

    • Budz says:

      08:18am | 20/01/12

      Ah yes Lucy. Because kids aren’t influenced at all by their parents attitudes towards life. /end sarcasm

    • Lucy says:

      08:34am | 20/01/12

      Ah Budz so that puts paid to another tired argument then.  That the crime and thuggery in the community is because of the lost connection between the young and the traditional family and community values.  Can’t have it both ways I’m afraid.  (and you know what they say about sarcasm).

    • watcher says:

      12:51pm | 20/01/12

      yes , let just let each culture have its own country in Australia, after all why should we expect them to come to our country and abide by our rules!! We can have Australia as the worlds united nations, when we cross their borders we can be whipped under Shari law as a good incentive!!

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      06:48am | 22/01/12

      Hey Lucy, well as nobody has advanced that second argument on this forum at all that’s completely irrelevant to the discussion.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      08:12am | 20/01/12

      It’s very hard for people who don’t speak or understand English and we should understand and accept the difficulty understanding our system of law so as to abide with them.

      But they are familiar with the laws of their homeland.

      Surely it would be preferable and more comfortable for them if each ethnic group have laws here set for their particular group so as to comply with their religion and/or culture.

      This would also relieve them of the stress of having to learn English, a language foreign to them.

      This would be a REAL step towards true multiculturalism.

      Yeah!

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:54am | 20/01/12

      Don’t know where that’s been mentioned?

      Whats the excuse for white people 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation that break the law then?

    • Danny B says:

      08:57am | 20/01/12

      Oh, yes.  That won’t backfire/divide the community at all…

    • stunned mullet says:

      08:58am | 20/01/12

      Are you seriously suggesting that in order for minority groups to abide by the law and assimilate we should give them their own laws separate from ours, laws which reflect the land they have apparently fled in fear from? All this on top of not requiring they learn at least basic English so they can communicate with Australians, whose first language is English.
      At what point are immigrants held accountable for their lack of assimilation? Instead of asking the majority to bend over how about demanding more respect for the existing culture, language and laws?!

    • Ben C says:

      10:19am | 20/01/12

      Don’t know if Aussie Wazza is trolling or not, but this has been raised before regarding introduction of aspects of Sharia law into Australia.

      Yep, wonderful way of assimilating new arrivals…

    • SimpleSimon says:

      10:27am | 20/01/12

      I sense sarcasm may have flown over a few peoples heads…?

    • Sam says:

      10:41am | 20/01/12

      @Simon..our culture has convict roots so Id say us whiteys must already have our own set of rules.
      And seriously, none of you detected the sarcasm in the OP?

    • Paul says:

      11:25am | 20/01/12

      @ Sam: Australia having primarily ‘convict roots’ is rubbish. There were 164,000 convicts deported to Australia from England and elsewhere. Of the convicts transported most were English and Welsh (70%), Irish (24%), Scottish (5%) and the remaining 1% from the British outposts in India and Canada, Maoris from New Zealand, Chinese from Hong Kong and slaves from the Caribbean.

      By 1871 Australia’s total population was 1.7 million due to gold rush immigration. Most of Australia’s anglo-saxon population are not direct descendants of convicts but lets continue the perception that our ancestry we were all criminals.

    • Sam says:

      12:03pm | 20/01/12

      Paul..you missed my point. I was continuing in the sarcastic tone of..nevermind
      For the record im of convict decent myself, so yes, whatever fancy cultural based laws come into play, looks like Ill be based on the convicts, where as those other non-convict british immigrants will have a different set of laws. Only Fair!

    • Paul says:

      12:41pm | 20/01/12

      @ Sam: Apologies, I missed the sarcasm.

    • MarkS says:

      08:16am | 20/01/12

      “If you get into a car accident in Vietnam, people sort it out between themselves”

      This may well be the case in Vietnam, but I all too aware that it is not the case in Cabramatta. You cannot make a CTP claim unless the accident is reported to police.

    • Erich says:

      08:37am | 20/01/12

      The Vietnamese have been in Cabramatta for 35 years, but they haven’t yet learned a crucial cultural lesson. Any problem with the NSW police can be solved with a brown paper bag or three. It’s been this way since Rum Corps.

    • Snooze says:

      08:42am | 20/01/12

      I think there is a lot of good advice in here (although I too wonder what exactly the police were held accountable for), however, I don’t think it is really applicable to the community in which this violence is currently occurring. These gangs tend to be made up not of refugees but of Australian-born men who are not afraid of the police in any way, rather, the police are afraid of them. I’ve seen groups of young Lebanese guys violently attack mounted police at the Sydney mardi gras with no provocation whatsoever and it was terrifying to behold.  There are groups of them that drive on loops around the Rocks and then gather together. The police are afraid to go near them as they are all armed, incredibly violent and completely unafraid of authority. How do you deal with people like that I wonder? Friends of mine who grew up in places like Georges Hall have described to me what it’s like growing up in an area where gangs of men are completely unafraid of the law and act with impunity. They drive through red lights and disregard every law they can, they crash parties and rob and assault people. When a boy knocked on the wrong door and was shot in the face on a notorious street in one of these areas his parents doorknocked the street in an effort to find information - they were hardly scary authority figures. They were abused, spat at and people laughed in their faces. This was nit a wall of silence built on fear but on contempt. Now, I am not saying that all middle eastern or Lebanese people are like this - in fact I know some absolutely lovely, law-abiding Lebanese people and I’m sure they are in the majority. However, a bug chunk of this community is downright frightening and I don’t think any if the methods described above will help change this.

    • MarkS says:

      09:21am | 20/01/12

      @Snooze
      “The police are afraid to go near them as they are all armed, incredibly violent and completely unafraid of authority. How do you deal with people like that I wonder?”

      Arrest them, charge them & jail them, if they fight back, kill them. There is no way these groups of young men can have a greater ability to impose their will by force then a modern nation state.

      Police have access to firearms, including full automatic assault weapons if required, anti ballistic jackets, massive manpower.

      Note that in Lebanon the state is very weak; there are armed groups with more power than the state, this is not the case in Australia. It may well be, but I hasten to add I do not know, that there is a cultural hangover from the state of affairs in Lebanon.

      The problem appears to be a lack of will of behalf of the authorities. This will change, the voters will demand it & in the end even the most lilly livered pollie will authorise overwhelming lethal force if their seat is on the line.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      09:23am | 20/01/12

      @Snooze

      Fair points raised in a reasoned manner.

      The police have been to soft for the last 10 years and that leads to people not respecting them and knowing they can treat them like sh*t.

      In regards to the Middle Eastern youth, I think it has to do with parenting. If you have crap parents who don’t care than you kids are generally going to turn out the right way.

      The majority of my friends are Middle Eastern and Asian and have been raised well and due to that have done well in studies and life.

      Its akin to a white person having a bikie as a dad in Penrith and if you go around the house chances are you see his fathers traits in the son.

    • Snooze says:

      05:53pm | 20/01/12

      Mark S, that would seem the simple solution, wouldn’t it?  However the police are more boxed in by rules and regulations than you would think.  These guys aren’t afraid of jail, they’re not cowed by authority figures, even those with weapons, and half of them have more powerful weapons than the police.  The Mardi Gras incident I am referring to was insane.  Some mounted police were just riding up the road and twenty or thirty guys saw them, and threw themselves at them, attacking both the horses and the cops savagely for no other reason than to have a bit of fun.  Are you telling me that wouldn’t be downright terrifying to come up against?  The cops are usually outnumbered in these situations and these men are seriously scary.  They’re also not afraid of going after families and friends, etc etc.  I think it is a more complex situation than you’d think.

      On the other hand, Mark S. and Simon, I very much believe that not enough has been done for too long.  A friend of mine as a teenager was pulled out of her car and gang raped by a lebanese gang and the police encouraged her not to pursue the investigation as it would bedifficult, she’d have to relive it in court if anything panned out, and there were “too many handprints on the car”.  I will never recover from the disgust and anger I felt at hearing this and the sense of betrayal I felt about people who are supposed to protect us.

      I sometimes feel that the PC brigade has way too much power.  Absolutely equal rights and minorities must be protected.  However not every group in society wants to hold hands and skip.  Some elements of society need to be cracked down on and without people going off their brains about it not being PC.

    • Michelle R says:

      08:45am | 20/01/12

      It’s unfounded to project the experience of Vietnamese crime onto Middle Eastern crime. In the case of the Vietnamese, you are correct, it was just a cultural wall of silence to break through. However, there are two big differences with Middle Eastern crime (1) there is no longer a dominant “Aussie” culture in western Sydney to pressure a minority culture into cooperation and (2) the underlying Islamic influence on attitudes towards Australian laws. Horses for courses. It’s a whole new ball game and simplistic comparisons won’t help break the new wall of silence.

    • nfw says:

      08:58am | 20/01/12

      Of course, that’s right. It’s the police and the receiving nation’s fault.  Still that’s mutli-ghettoism for you.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      09:26am | 20/01/12

      I don’t think you read the article or saw the TV series which doesn’t surprise me.

      The Vietnamese community got together and lobbied the government for an inquiry to what was happening out there and the result was they got more proactive police who cleaned up there area to what it is today.

    • MD says:

      09:09am | 20/01/12

      Bogans gonna bogan.

    • Mont says:

      10:41am | 20/01/12

      From what I see in Paddington, the people levelling ghetto accusations towards south western sydney are usually the same people running to the pub toilet every half hour to snort a line of coke, in doing so supporting the very industry that keeps the bullets flying.

    • Barzini says:

      10:59am | 20/01/12

      The Authorities are not Stupid. That being said, if they want, the amount of heat they can put on these leb/middle eastern thugs who watch Scarface one fine day and the next day they think they’re all Tony Montana’s, will all be hiding in their holes. The problem is, these thugs feel that they know their rights and there are many loopholes to get them out of conviction. If the Govt/Authorities tell the police which they will need to soon, go ahead and wipe the scum off the roads, you’ll see the change but that will again cause same crappy news on Today tonight or ACA: Ethnic people targeted BLA BLA. Bottom line is Police has powers, but they are not allowed to use them. Trust me if they do, you’ll see a different, safe and secure environment in NSW.

    • Jade (the other one) says:

      04:51pm | 20/01/12

      Our police need to be given greater force to deal with violent crime. The witnesses who refused to speak should have been charged with obstruction.

      I must say though, I’m surprised to see so many commentators who were so negative about an article showing the police and the community of Redfern working together to help the indigenous youth, and being successful, so overwhelmingly understanding of the Vietnamese community, and apologist to the point of blaming police.

      Indigenous people in this country have seen police get away with murder against them, and have far more reason to be distrustful than people fleeing another country. Yet we still find fault with and denigrate their attitudes, while supporting the right of Vietnamese people to disrespect our police officers.

      Only the right kind of minority has this privilege I guess.

    • stephen says:

      06:13pm | 20/01/12

      My mother’s brother had a lot to do with placing and looking after the welfare of the Vietnamese in Melbourne during the 60’s and 70’s.
      His last name was Hodge, (I’ve actually got an old Melbourne Age write-up on him ) ... anyway, I remember when I was a kid sitting on his knee asking why he liked to help people from the jungle, and I remember his reply :
      ‘well, they don’t swear, they can drive a tram, and they make nice soup ... plus I like them, so why not ?’)
      Indeed ...  yet in reading this piece, I’ve always thought that new Australians should be entitled to keep their own cultures and beliefs, (I’m not a big fan of forced or even coerced integration) so long as they observe our Law.
      At this point, when that line is crossed, that new arrivals do not understand the law, or even disregard it, then further integration is necessary, for it is not a sound reason to declare ignorance because of language or cultural barriers.
      Sorry, but if the above writer’s concern is that the Vietnamese community is being misunderstood or misconstrued, then that is their problem, and they will have to adapt to Australian norms.
      They must learn properly our language.
      That’s step number one, and when they do, then we can talk further on our successes.

    • John says:

      10:08pm | 20/01/12

      Once I went to police station with a friend, of course we are asian, I can feel we are not respected at all, the way the police talked to us, is like we are criminal and we don’t speak good English, LOL, I guess the police can not pick up a word in Asian language at all. I didn’t mean all police are not nice, some are quite friendly I would say.

    • John says:

      09:29am | 21/01/12

      Customer Service isn’t their specialty. They deal with the scum(criminals) of the earth, I don’t expect them to be nice people for good reason.

    • Brown says:

      10:43am | 21/01/12

      So everyone the police deal with is the scum of the earth john?
      Ever had any dealings with the police? If so, you are part of the scum of the earth.

      Cops get respect when they give respect.
      There is a fine line between being a cop and being a thug. When a cop becomes a thug to a young impressionable person, that memory becomes part of them till the end of their days. One bad apple can spoil it for the “good” cops for the rest of that persons life.

    • stephen says:

      04:33pm | 21/01/12

      That’s a stupid bloody attitude Mr. Brown.
      (That one fine mistake by the Police and you will hate them forever.)

      The cops do not have to give any more respect to anyone else, than should a council worker or a carnival inspector.
      Their job is about the Law, and those who disregard it.
      Respect is a common aspect, we all should have it, and that some police may not, should have no bearing on their respect by you.

      Respect is not a requirement of any job.

      ps   and by the way, is Mr. Lethlean’s food review in the Oz’s Weekend Mag. quite sure on the meaning of ‘emanating’ ?

    • Brown says:

      09:58am | 22/01/12

      That’s a stupid bloody attitude Mr. Stephen

      It’s not an attitude at all Stephen, it’s a fact.
      Roughing up a youth, for example whacking them in the knees with a nightstick or tasering them for fun, or watching a cop lie in a court of law to say they saw things that didn’t happen will affect that youth throughout their life and “colour” their view of police.
      It’s FACT Stephen and you could do better than suggest cops don’t owe anybody respect.

      Everyone deserves respect and because the police have so much power and are authorised to use force up to a lethal level, they are required to show respect to everyone they deal with.

      As I said, one rogue cop early on can cause a lifelong impression.

      you should stop emanating if it is causing you problems, I never mentioned it.

    • stephen says:

      08:23pm | 22/01/12

      Everybody needs courtesy, is probably accurate.
      ‘Everybody deserves respect’ as you say ?
      What about Ivan Milat ? Does he get your respect ?

      We should, however, be given the freedom to earn it.
      The Police may say that ‘I will be respectful of the general public’, or some such thing when they do their vows, but, really, if they execute the meaning of the Law and its intents as clear as possible, and courteously, then respect, in this instance, is probably a payment for goods untendered.

      And sorry, I meant ‘urinating’ ; not that other word.

    • tavare says:

      07:24am | 23/01/12

      The big difference between the Vietnamese situation and the Middle Easten refugee situation is that the Vietnamese invested in the education of their children, the Middle Eastern community - generally speaking - hasn’t.  Vietnamese young males don’t have time to drive around in hotted up cars terrorising communities because they are studying. They outperform all but the Chinese children in our schools and universities and are a great role model for refugees. Unfortunately the children of the (mainly Muslim) Middle eastern refugees who have come to Australia have not followed the paths of the Asian refugees. Jus look at the annual Top 100 HSC results for proof. The Asians believe in investing in the future of their children (male and female unlike many Mddle Eastern arrivals who still hold feudal attitudes about women and law). That is why it is not so easy to compare what happened to the Vietnamese and the MEs. The future is likely to remain bleak for Sydney’s ubiquitous “south west” ghetto.

 

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