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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Homicide squad is investigating links between the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and the disappearance of Shepparton man Engin Ozdemir

Homicide squad detectives are investigating links between the motorcycle gang and the disappearance of Shepparton man Engin Ozdemir, 46. Detectives believe Mr Ozdemir - who has not been seen for more than four months - was murdered in an ambush. The Hells Angels had become part of the investigation because they had previously threatened Mr Ozdemir. The missing man was a key witness in the prosecution of a Melbourne businessman on serious taxation and fraud charges.
Police say witnesses in that trial - including Mr Ozdemir - were threatened by interstate members of the Hells Angels and another bikie gang, warning them not to give evidence. Mr Ozdemir and another man, who was later to testify by video link, went ahead with their evidence at a preliminary hearing. The man charged was jailed for four years and was released from prison about a month after the disappearance of Mr Ozdemir. Mr Ozdemir had helped the businessman launder money, set up shelf companies and open dodgy bank accounts. Mr Ozdemir, who also went by the names Can Koray and John Koray, was last seen on June 19. He left his home in Carlisle Court, Shepparton, just before 5pm, saying he was going to meet someone at 6.30pm about three properties he was to manage. His car, a 1990 Toyota Camry, was parked at the Shepparton railway station at 5.13pm. Detectives suspect a late-model Ford station wagon parked in the next car space within minutes may be connected to the disappearance. The cars were parked at the far perimeter of the car park, well away from the station's terminal. Security footage showed the Falcon left within minutes of the Camry arriving. Sen-Det Steve Trewavas of the homicide squad said he believed Mr Ozdemir was not the driver of the Camry and it might have been parked there to give an impression he had left by train. "There's a 20-minute period where something's happened," he said. Mr Ozdemir has not used his bank account or mobile phone since vanishing. Det-Sgt Trewavas said there were other possible motives for the killing. Mr Ozdemir was a heroin and morphine user who dealt cannabis and prescription drugs in the Shepparton area. "He had a lot of people coming around," Det-Sgt Trewavis said. Mr Ozdemir regularly travelled to Fitzroy to buy heroin. He was believed to have owed money to several drug dealers and was badly assaulted about a month before vanishing. He told friends he was forced to fire a shot to repel his attackers. Mr Ozdemir's sister Hulya said she had contacted psychics to help find her brother, one of whom said he was alive and being held somewhere.


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