A Carabooda market gardening family has been ordered to tear down heavily fortified walls at its Safari Place compound, which police claim hinder access to a property suspected of being used for organised crime.
Police served a fortification warning notice on three Le brothers yesterday who, with their mother, own the properties raided several times since May as part of a multi-agency investigation into illegal foreign labour rackets and money laundering.
It is the first time the anti- fortification laws have been used against anyone other than a bikie gang. The only previous targets have been the Gypsy Jokers and the Coffin Cheaters.
To get the notice, police had to convince the Corruption and Crime Commission that fortifications at the compound, which includes market gardens and family homes, were excessive and the premises were used habitually by people reasonably suspected of involvement in organised crime.
Brothers Michael and Canh Le, who have been accused of running a criminal empire that managed an illegal foreign workforce and laundered tens of millions of dollars, part-own the properties.
Police charged Michael Le with dealing in the proceeds of crime and charged his elder brother Canh with dealing in the proceeds of crime and harbouring illegal workers as part of the multi-agency inquiry. Their brother Dan Le, mother Thi Hga Huynh and family company, THANGS Family Co P/L, are also listed on the notice as owners of the property, which has 3m-high limestone walls that were allegedly illegally built.
Police want to remove several hundred metres of wall, metal gates and the surveillance system, which includes security cameras and lighting. Det-Insp. Chris Adams said the complexity and scale of the alleged crime syndicate had warranted the use of the powers of the CCC Act.
The family have 14 days to fight the application by putting their case to Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan. If he is satisfied there are still grounds to go ahead, he will issue a fortification removal notice.
The owners then have seven days to remove the fortifications, apply for extra time or challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
If the property owners do nothing, police can demolish the fortifications at the owners' expense.
The Le family would not comment yesterday. But in May, Michael Levowed to fight all charges stemming from the raids.