Brazen youth gangs linked to injured Ipswich cop
TWO teenagers accused of stealing a car and running down a policeman, leaving him in a critical condition, have been linked to a brazen youth gang.
A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were last week charged with one count each of attempted murder and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Constable Peter McAulay, 24, was hit when police attempted to intercept their car in Ipswich at about 5am last Thursday.
Mr McAulay suffered a serious head injury and numerous broken bones and fractures, and woke from a coma at Princess Alexandra Hospital on Monday.
In television news reports, the youths were linked to the so-called Southside gang - a cohort of young criminals who document their exploits on social media.
They share selfies with stacks of cash and bags of illicit drugs as well as videos driving at dangerously high speeds - many of them tagged with FTP, or f**k the police.
Channel 9 reported the 16-year-old boy allegedly behind the wheel of the car that hit Constable McAulay is a "known associate" of the Southside gang.
Another member of the gang, Jay Jay Rice, died in July after he crashed a stolen car while speeding on the wrong side of the road.
It smashed into a vehicle being driven by Sarah Mazi, 33, and her husband Omer, 41, who were killed.
"Their son is still struggling and keeps asking: 'Where's mummy and daddy?'" Sarah's brother Steven Furlong told Seven News.
Members of the gangs are aged between 14 and 18, and many of them are repeat offenders, Seven reported.
The Southside gang is believed to have been formed last year.
Channel 7 also reported in February on a rival criminal group, the Northside gang, which bragged it had a large number of members.
"If we wanted to, we could target every house on the northside (of Brisbane) in a day," one of the members said.
Online members boast about stealing cars and breaking into homes, and police say the 50-odd members - who have been terrorising the city's northern suburbs for three years - have collectively faced 1000 charges since 2015.
And many openly mock and insult authorities via social media.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers last week told reporters the police community was behind Mr McAulay.
"We want Pete to get better. We're praying for him, but we want justice to be served as well," Mr Leavers said.
"He was actually on his way into Ipswich to do something else and obviously he took action to prevent crime and apprehend people and here he is now in the fight of his life."
Mr Leavers said the tragic incident could have been averted with the use of remote engine immobilisers - technology he has been lobbying for from the Federal Government for six years.
Acting Superintendent Melissa Adams said it was difficult to hear one of her colleagues was seriously injured during the incident.
"We are a very close-knit policing district. We look after ourselves and our thoughts are with this officer and his family," she said. "And we ask people to say a prayer for him."