A teenage gang member has spoken out about life inside the new street gang known as the Reds.
The 16-year-old said the Reds and their rivals the Blues are now spread throughout Melbourne, inspired by the notorious American gangs the Bloods and Crips.
The new gang – which has members of a variety of ethnic backgrounds – has been causing havoc in the city’s south-east, prompting a police crackdown.
‘If you’re Red you’re Red, if you’re Blue you’re Blue – our colours don’t mix,’ the teenage thug said.
‘We might not always be rivals but that doesn’t mean we get along.
‘We’re all races, Islanders, Sudanese, other Africans, Caucasians, Asians, it’s not a race thing, we don’t hate each other over any colours.’
Asked about the recent spate of brutal bashings and robberies in the City of Casey, the young gang member said outsiders may be partly to blame.
‘We heard about a guy being spat on by the Reds, that’s not us, we don’t disrespect,’ he said.
‘The worst gangs are near the CBD [central business district], but they come and go, people move from different areas and bring their colours.’
The Reds have been linked to a series of alleged assaults, robberies and thefts and are loosely connected to the Bloods and Crips which originated in Los Angeles.
The Reds have become known for allegedly terrorising residents around shopping centres and elsewhere in the Endeavour Hills suburb and hide themselves with red hoods, bandanas and hats.
Daily Mail Australia has obtained photographs of local teenagers posing with their heads bowed wearing red garments and making hand signals.
There is no suggestion the youths in the photographs are involved in any wrongdoing or criminal activity.
A local resident who asked to remain anonymous said: ‘It is a problem though these wannabe gangsters – the Crips and Bloods. [They are] watching too many movies but causing havoc in the schools at the moment.’
It comes as traders at the nearby Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre warned they were being terrorised and had seen the teens threatening customers and stealing from shops.
One said he wanted increased security at the centre and was left disgusted by the group’s behaviour – which included one member allegedly spitting at a customer.
‘They think they’re full-on gangsters and parade around the centre wearing red and play loud music through a big speaker,’ Amrif Rustemovski told The Herald Sun.
He said traders and customers no longer felt safe doing their shopping.
The centre manager, Leigh Regan, claims security teams they employ will ‘continue to work with police’.
Police believe they caught some of the ‘wannabe gang members’ in relation to a aggravated burglary in January.
Acting Sergeant Matt McCormack was also quoted by the Herald Sun as saying three teens aged 15, 16 and 17 will appear in court on March 23 ‘in relation to a series of offences’.
They were arrested seven days after the alleged incident on January 10 and are accused of stealing from The Reject Shop at the centre.
Acting Sergeant McCormack added local patrols had been stepped up around the centre ‘to target hotspots’.
Meanwhile, a New Year’s Eve attack where a man was allegedly attacked, bashed in the head and left semi-conscious on the footpath is still being investigated.
The victim said at the time he had been approached by four to six teenagers of Pacific Islander appearance in red shirts and bandannas.