A handful of Irish scammers who have brazenly ripped off Queensland residents, restaurants and shops have fled Australia, while others have gone to ground.
Queensland police say five of the nine Irish tourists they believe have been defrauding people and stealing from businesses across the state’s south-east have left the country.
The remaining four suspects, two men and two women, may no longer be in Queensland but police have alerted Australian Border Force of their details.
Whether any of the quartet are prevented from leaving the country will depend on the evidence police can gather from their investigations.
Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said the departure of the five among a larger group of 20 in the past day-and-a-half was a “very good outcome” for Queenslanders.
“That has been a mutual benefit as a result of police media and the community working together,” he said.
Det Supt Fleming said a decision on whether to pursue extradition would be dependent on the relative benefit to the community.
“Part of the challenge is identifying which crimes this group of people are potentially responsible for … and then identifying what we can actually prove,” he said.
“While Border Force were quite aware of this, we weren’t in a position at that point in time to actually say they cannot leave the country because we’re in a position to actually arrest them.”
The group of men, women and children are accused of planting glass or hair in restaurant meals, shoplifting and dodgy construction jobs.
In one case, an elderly man lost more than $25,000 when he paid men to repair his roof but they never finished the job.
A Brisbane woman who evicted some of the families from properties she was managing says she’s since been intimidated for speaking out.
Clara Carmichael says four families leased properties from her company using fake documents to pass background checks.
“Their threatening behaviour has been ongoing since they were removed from our building, and some were removed, some fled in the middle of the night,” Ms Carmichael told the Nine Network.
While police say they have no new cases from the 12 they were investigating last week, the are urging other victims to come forward.
Det Supt Fleming couldn’t link the group to a similar spate of crimes in Victoria in 2017, or if the group had been in Australia before.
“I don’t know but I will be doing everything I can to make sure this is the last time they come to Australia,” he said.