Senior members of the neo-Nazi Australian Nationalists Movement evaded police yesterday during a raid on what is believed to be the part-time residence of its leader.
Detectives investigating a series of racist graffiti attacks throughout Perth this month were last night seeking ANM leader Jack Van Tongeren and his deputy from the ANM’s 1980s campaigns – John Van Blitterswyk – for questioning.
ANM posters were left at the scene of each of the recent race-hate attacks, which included Perth’s biggest synagogue, a police station, Chinese restaurants, businesses and homes.
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Van Tongeren served 12 years’ jail for 53 offences, including firebombing Chinese restaurants in the 1980s. He has denied involvement in the recent graffiti attacks but sympathised with those who were responsible.
Yesterday’s raid on the house in Gingin, 87km northeast of Perth, where he has recently lived on and off, was the first sign that police were investigating a possible link between him and the latest attacks.
Five men have been charged over the attacks, including three alleged members of the ANM.
Neither Van Tongeren nor Blitterswyk were present yesterday morning when detectives from Operation Atlantic raided the house, owned by Van Blitterswyk’s former partner, Judith Lyons.
Lyons, who was also convicted for her role in the ANM’s 1980s campaign, was questioned yesterday afternoon and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon – understood to be a stun gun – possession of ammunition and possession of cannabis.
Police spent several hours seizing documents and computer equipment from the house. Locals say Van Tongeren has occasionally stayed there since he sold his home in the northern Perth suburb of Gosnells.
This week, Van Tongeren sent Operation Atlantic Superintendent David Parkinson – who arrested him over the firebombings in 1986 – a letter promoting his recently published book on the ANM.
Van Tongeren’s letter, also sent to media outlets, outlined his opposition to multiculturalism and claimed that Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and Premier Geoff Gallop would be guilty of treason under a “people’s court”.