NSW Police are appealing for witnesses after a high speed car chase along Warringah Rd resulted in four arrests in Forestville today, Sunday 22 January, following an alleged kidnapping of a man in Little Manly.
The alleged abductee has been identified by Channel 9 as Rodrigo Henriquez, 39, reported to be an associate of the Hamzy crime clan.
Witnesses to the alleged assault and abduction, which began in Oyama Ave, Little Manly, just before 9.30am, called police and gave details of the alleged abductors’ vehicle and license plate.
Police detectives question the family and neighbours of an attempted kidnap victim in Oyama Avenue, Little Manly. Photo: Alec Smart
NSW Police commenced an immediate aerial search with a helicopter. The fleeing vehicle, a Toyota all-wheel drive Hi-Lux (five-seater with utility tray), was identified shortly afterwards heading towards the city along Warringah Rd, and police officers closed access to the Roseville Bridge in front of them.
The Toyota attempted to evade pursuing police cars, including, according to witnesses, crossing a median strip and driving the wrong direction, then ramming several police cars, with the front bumper of one police car ripped off in the collision.
However, the alleged abductors’ Toyota was halted with a tyre deflation device (a portable strip of spikes also known as a ‘stinger’) in Starkey Street, Forestville, and armed officers seized the occupants.
Witness photos at the arrest site showed four barefoot men, surrounded by police officers, sat on the steps of Forestville Memorial Hall, their hands cuffed behind them.
A fifth man – the alleged abductee Mr Henriquez – was found in the apprehended vehicle with injuries and taken to hospital for treatment.
The other four were taken to Manly Police Station.
Police later charged four men – a 24-year-old man from Sefton, a 24-year-old man from Auburn, a 25-year-old man from Colebee, and a 19-year-old man from Doonside wiith five offences,
• Kidnap in company with intent serious indictable occasion – actual bodily harm
• Participate criminal group contribute criminal activity
• Be carried in conveyance taken without consent of owner
• Face blackened/disguised with intent to commit indictable offence, and
The Sefton man has also been charged with two additional offences: police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly, and use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.
All have been refused bail to appear in Manly Local Court today (Monday 23 January 2023).
The injured man has now been released from hospital after treatment.
Northern Beaches Police Area Command released the following statement at 3.22pm on Sunday, confirming:
“Four men have been arrested and investigations are continuing following an alleged assault and police pursuit on the Northern Beaches.
“About 9.30am (Sunday 22 January 2023), police were called to Oyama Avenue, Manly, following reports of an assault. Officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command attended and were told those involved had left the area in a Toyota Hilux.
“A short time later, police attempted to stop the Hilux on Warringah Road at Forestville; however, a pursuit was initiated when the driver allegedly failed to stop. Officers deployed road spikes and the vehicle stopped on Starkey Street at Forestville.
“Five men were found in the vehicle; one man was located with injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment. The four other men were arrested and taken to Manly Police Station.
“Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad are assisting with investigations. As investigations continue, anyone with information about those involved, or anyone with dashcam vision from the area at the time are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.”
Hamzy connection and feud with rival family
Several news organisations have linked the alleged kidnapping to the Hamzy crime family (also spelled Hamze), of whom Rodrigo Henriquez, the alleged abductee, is reported to be a close associate.
His younger brother Ibrahem is now reportedly the head of the syndicate.
Police foiled what they believed to be an assassination attempt on Ibrahem in North Sydney on 14 August 2021 after coming across a stolen Mercedes parked in Walker Street, which fled through a red light.
An alleged associate of the Alameddine family, Jo Vokai, has since been charged with the attempted murder of Ibrahem Hamzy.
The Hamzy family are reportedly involved in a dispute with the Alameddine criminal network, which has resulted in reprisals and targeted murders.
Bassam Hamzy’s brother Ghassan Amoun was assassinated in South Wentworthwville in Sydney’s west on 6 January 2022 in a drive-by shooting. He had only recently been released from a prison sentence for breaching a Serious Crime Prevention Order.
The previous year, cousin Bilal, 34, was murdered outside a sushi restaurant in Sydney CBD on 17 June 2021 in another drive-by shooting. This was followed by the shooting dead of Hamzy cousins Salim, 18 and his father Toufik, 64, outside their home in Guildford on 20 October 2021.
In August 2022, NSW Police charged the alleged abductee in the latest incident, Rodrigo Henriquez, and three others with affray after viewing CCTV footage of a brawl at Ballina Airport on 6 February 2021. Police believe both Hamzy and Alammedine associates somehow boarded the same plane together to Ballina Airport, whereupon they began bashing each other in the arrivals hall.
Another Hamzy brother, Mejid, 44, who was shot dead outside his Condell Park home on 19 October 2020, had his assets seized posthumously by the NSW Crime Commission. On 22 July 2022, the estate of Hamzy agreed to pay the State of NSW $1.4 million “to settle proceeds of crime confiscation proceedings brought by the NSW Crime Commission before Hamzy’s death that alleged he had profited from serious and organised crime.”
No strangers to kidnapping claims
In 2022, the Hamzy’s were themselves charged in connection to an alleged kidnapping.
In January 2022, the three younger brothers of notorious crime figure Bassam Hamzy – Haissam and Ibrahem (both 27), and Tareek (24) – appeared in Parramatta Bail Court to answer to charges of kidnapping and assault of a man purportedly involved in a fake Covid-19 certificate scheme.
In April 2022, Tareek Hamzy appeared in Court after he was charged with the alleged kidnapping and stabbing of the victim, who was held hostage in an Auburn flat for three hours before being dumped with a shoulder stab wound in Birrong.
The NSW Supreme Court heard that seven men – three Hamzy brothers, two El-Chamy brothers and two other associates – abducted the 24-year-old victim in order to obtain false Covid certification to undertake construction work, and allegedly forced him to transfer $22,000.
The trial will resume mid-2023.
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