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Sydney gang rapes

The Sydney gang rapes were a series of four separate hate crimes which occurred in Sydney in the summer of 2000. The common thread between all these cases was that the perpertrators were gangs of young males of Lebanese Muslim origin, while the victims were females of European descent. The perpertrators were alleged to have made racist comments against their victims in the course of the offences. During the trial of one of the offenders, Bilal Skaf[?], text messages sent on his mobile phone were revealed which contained sentiments such as "When you are feeling down ... bash a Christian or Catholic and lift up".

These cases lead to a great deal of controversy when the Premier, Bob Carr, publicly identified the perpertrators' background. Ethnic community groups complained that Carr was smearing the entire Lebanese Muslim community with the crimes of a few of its members, and that his public comments would stir up ethnic hatred.

The separate gang rapes were, in chronological order:

  • August 10 2000 - Two females aged 17 and 18 accepted a lift from Chatswood, lured by the offer of marijuana. They were taken to Northcote Park, Greenacre[?], where they were forced to perform oral sex on eight males.
  • August 12 2000 - Another victim was raped at gunpoint by two males at Gosling Park, Greenacre[?], having been lured there by one of the rapists, who was an acquaintance. She escaped before she could be raped by another twelve males who were awaiting their turn.
  • August 30 2000 - A woman, named C at the trial (she later revealed her identity on the 60 Minutes television program) was lured from a train at Bankstown[?] by the promise of marijuana. She was then raped at three separate locations by 14 males, over a period of six hours. As a final humilation they hosed her down with water.
  • September 4 2000 - Two 16 year old females were lured from Beverly Hills[?] train station to a house in Lakemba[?], were they were raped by three males over a period of four hours.

Other rapes were attempted, but were not carried out. The West Australian ("Reign of terror by mobile phone and the promise of a smoke", 31 July 2002) reports that a 14-year old girl was approached by four males on a train on 4 August 2000, but she escaped before she could be harmed. One of the attackers was quoted as saying on his mobile phone, "I've got a slut with me bro, come to Punchbowl."

The sentences handed down to the offenders were very severe. Bilal Skaf, ring leader of the August 30 gang rape, was sentenced to a total of 55 years' imprisonment.

The gang rapes lead to the passage of new legislation through the NSW State Parliament, dramatically increasing the sentences for gang rapists.

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