Over 6000 residents join QLD ‘vigilante’ group
CAIRNS residents fed up with skyrocketing crime rates are joining a new vigilante-style group by the thousands and are prepared to push legal boundaries in a last-ditch attempt to defend property from out-of-control kids.
Created a week ago, secret online group Cairns Regulators has amassed a following of more than 6200 members with many more applications pending approval from the group's founder Braiden Symonds.
"Everyone is just fed up and had enough. The public is just starting to take matters into their own hands," he said.
"All I am trying to do is educate people on what they can and can't do (and) ways to protect their home in ways that are legal."
Mr Symonds admits many joining the group had been motivated by a lust for revenge and what the Cairns Regulators had been doing fell into a legal "grey area".
"Is it politically correct? Maybe not. Is it frowned upon by the public? Definitely. It's a very grey area there but everything is legal," he said.
"It's pushing the boundaries of what's legal but again that's what needs to happen to get people to change."
However Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Taylor couldn't condone residents taking the law into their own hands.
"There has always been the odd conversation over the years about vigilantes and obviously we're not supportive of that," he said.
"We would just ask people to put their faith in police, give us information and criticise us if you think we're not doing enough. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt."
Members of the Cairns Regulators, organised through private Facebook chats, have been patrolling the streets of Cairns but have not escaped the eye of Cairns police who earlier this week called Mr Symonds in for questioning in relation to a string of allegations.
"There was a whole list of things they wanted to question me about - apparently I'd been involved in an assault with a deadly weapon, deprivation of liberty, obstruction of police, hate speech and inciting a riot," he said.
"There was no charges, everything was dropped and thrown out. It's a witch hunt basically. There are a couple of people I have got off side because I have removed them from the group."
Understanding there were troublemakers in the group threatening violence, Mr Symonds said the group was not responsible for people's actions.
"I am not out calling for violence, I am not out even calling for people to do this," he said.