The West

Wall demolition backdown
Police have backed down from a threat to force the demolition of the wall surrounding market garden family compound. Picture:Mogens Johansen/ The West Australian

Police have backed down from a threat to force the owners behind a Carbooda market garden to tear down their 3m high limestone walls.

Michael Le said Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan informed him in writing on Friday that he had decided not to issue a fortification removal notice at the Safari Place compound.

A fortification warning notice had been served on the three Le brothers in July, 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.

To get the initial 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.

Michael and his brother Canh were charged with money laundering in May after unprecedented raids by State and Federal authorities targeting an alleged illegal worker racket.

Police refused to reveal why they had decided not to go ahead with the order, saying it was "operational".

Michael Le said he had been given no reasons.

But in letter to the Police Commissioner arguing against the warning to remove walls, security cameras and floodlights, Mr Le wrote that the family had built high walls to protect children, aged as young as one month, living at the property from break-ins and from chemical sprays drifting from neighbouring farms.

Mr Le said the sensor floodlights and security cameras provided security for their businesses and families.

"I'm very pleased the Police Commissioner has realised we're not heavily fortified like others and he's realised that it is a business that requires security in a rural area," he said.

Mr Le claimed the walls and gates were not fortified and the compound was not fully enclosed because there was a section without a wall or gate that could be accessed easily by police.

The walls were built illegally without council approval.

Mr Le said they put in a retrospective application last week to try again for approval.

He again denied all accusations made by authorities against him and his brother, saying they were not criminals.

It was the first time police have used the anti-fortification laws against anyone other than a bikie gang, with the only previous WA targets the Gypsy Jokers and the Coffin Cheaters.

The West Australian

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