| 22.10,19. 02:04 AM |
Gold Coast a hotspot for illegal hooning spurred on by car races, senior police warn
Objects thrown at police car as bystanders watch burnouts (ABC News)
After an unmarked police car was pelted with bottles by people gathered at an industrial estate on Friday night, a senior policeman and a Gold Coast MP have voiced concerns about the increasing problem of illegal hooning.
Footage posted on social media shows the police car, containing a male and female officer, forced to retreat when objects started hitting the car at Arundel.
Police Inspector Chris Ahearn said the crowd dispersed when more officers arrived and the police helicopter was mobilised.
"A number of people have already been issued 'on-the-spot' fines on the evening," he said.
"Two other motorists were issued with notices to attend court for burnout offences and had their vehicles immobilised for 90 days."
Local State MP Sam O'Connor condemned the behaviour, saying there were about 30 people in the estate and packing crates were also set on fire.
"That sort of behaviour is absolutely not on," Mr O'Connor said.
'They're like cockroaches'
Head of Gold Coast road policing, Senior Sergeant Bradyn Murphy, said it was a common problem.
"These people are like cockroaches — you turn up, they scatter away and turn up at the next location," he said.
"We spend all night chasing them around."
Senior Sergeant Murphy said hoons should not be confused with car enthusiasts who spent thousands of dollars on buying and maintaining their vehicles.
"They buy their $2,000 to $3,000 cars ... and they buy these cars for the simple fact of going out to an industrial estate and doing burn outs," he said.
"There's no other purpose for it."
Senior Sergeant Murphy said the footage illustrated why authorities were regularly forced to crackdown on illegal hooning and the owners of modified vehicles.
"All of these people say 'the police are picking on us', well this is the reason why we react to stuff," he said.
"We have these sorts of incidents where there's a little bit of anarchy towards police and the next minute we're pulling over everybody that's got a modified vehicle.
"You've modified your car for a reason and so you are going to be intercepted and make sure it complies with the traffic regulations of Queensland."
Car races inspire dangerous behaviour
Mr O'Connor said business owners had grown sick of the hooning, which could also occur in daylight hours.
"The hooning behaviour is bad and it's a real hotspot there in the industrial area of Arundel," he said.
Gold Coast City Council installed CCTV cameras to monitor the behaviour and help police identify offenders.
The incident happened one week after the Bathurst 1000 and one week before the Gold Coast 600 Supercars event.
Senior Sergeant Murphy said hooning increased at this time of year.
He said the Surfers Paradise street circuit also attracted drivers wanting to test their skills on the temporary track ahead of the race event.
"We enforce the track heavily," he said.
"There are cameras everywhere, so nothing will go unseen and nothing will go unpunished."