Families fled in terror as Melbourne's Moomba celebrations spiraled into violence Saturday night, at the hands of a notorious street gang.
A group of thugs known as the Apex gang have been on police radar for months, believed to be behind the weekend’s street violence in the CBD.
It is believed smaller groups of the gang rampaged throughout the city streets, damaging vehicles, stealing phones and assaulting Moomba festival-goers.
Police say the group of thugs were also responsible for city attacks at the White Night street party and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The gang from Melbourne’s southeast, named after Apex St in Dandenong North from where several of its founders hail, has been on police radar for some time.
Gang members are mostly in their 20s and predominately of Sudanese, Pacific Islander and Middle Eastern ethnicities, with numbers grown to around 200.
The gang is known for its public disturbance, stealing luxury cars and carrying out armed robberies and home invasions, acting out scenes reminiscent of violent video games like Grand Theft Auto, police said.
In recent months police have arrested 33 members of the notorious gang, including of a number of alleged ringleaders.
Saturday night’s arrests included two for drunk and disorderly behaviour, assaulting police, and possession of a taser.
Premier Daniel Andrews said Victorian families should never have to experience the fear they endured at the weekend.
“What occurred on Saturday is completely unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and fully investigated. And those who perpetrated those crimes will feel the full force of the law,” he said.
“We will not tolerate or accept this sort of thuggery this sort of criminal behavior.
“We will smash these gangs because we'll make sure Victorian Police has everything they need to make sure that those who were so lawless on Saturday night are appropriately punished.”