Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Bangor loyalist Gary Hall forms new paramilitary group in Australia, blames Aborigines for crime, says he is willing to kneecap housebreakers, drug dealers and rapists

Bangor born loyalist Gary Hall has set up a paramilitary group in Alice Springs called the Alice Springs Volunteer Force (AVF).
Bangor born loyalist Gary Hall has set up a paramilitary group in Alice Springs called the Alice Springs Volunteer Force (AVF).
Bangor born loyalist Gary Hall has set up a paramilitary group in Alice Springs called the Alice Springs Volunteer Force (AVF).
Bangor born loyalist Gary Hall has set up a paramilitary group in Alice Springs called the Alice Springs Volunteer Force (AVF).
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

A Northern Irishman who claims to have been on the fringes of the UVF has set up his own paramilitary gang 10,000 miles away in Australia.

Gary Hall is spokesman for the Alice Springs Volunteer Force (AVF), which models itself on the loyalist terror gang.

Originally from Bangor and aged in his mid-40s, he emigrated to Australia and settled in its Northern Territory seven years ago.

Hall says he was shocked by crime levels in Alice Springs — a searingly hot desert town of 30,000 inhabitants — which he blames on the native Aborigines.

In response he helped set up the AVF which he denies is a race hate gang, claiming instead that is is prepared to “kneecap” house breakers, drug dealers and rapists of any colour.

“The organisation will carry out punishment beatings and shootings if needs be, and by that I mean kneecappings,” Hall told Sunday Life.

“That is obviously a last resort, the AVF would prefer to limit itself to tarring and feathering but is prepared to take things further if necessary.”

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Hall explained how his associations with the AVF have cost him access to his daughter.

“Her fifth birthday is next week and I won’t get to spend it with her because her mother has taken her off to Queensland,” he said.

“Part of the reasons is down to this (AVF).”

He claims the AVF has 14 volunteers and is well armed.

“The organisation has access to legally held shotguns and small firearms, which it will use,” added Hall.

“Two of its members are from Belfast. Aside from saying that I’m not going to get into the AVF’s operational capacity.”

Police in Alice Springs — one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal settlements — are keeping a close watch on the AVF amid fears it is involved in racial violence.

Cops have confirmed they are “monitoring the activity of anyone choosing to associate” with Gary Hall, who recently appeared in court accused of harassing and stalking a woman.

A legal order against the north Down man was renewed to prevent him contacting an ex-partner.

Hall denies having any involvement in crime, or being a racist, even though the language he employs tells a different story.

Referring to life in Australia’s Northern Territory he said: “It’s backward, it’s a law onto itself.

“There are basically two communities where I live — the whites and the Aborigines who are stuck in the 1700s.”

“They harass women,” added Hall without a hint of irony given his recent court appearance on the same charge.

“They (Aborigines) have carried out rapes, burglaries, assaults.

“It’s got to the stage now that we, the public, are having to do something about it and that’s why the AVF has been set up.”

Hall is coy about his life in Northern Ireland before his move to Australia in 2008.

He grew up in Bangor, spent some time living in the Village area of south Belfast and worked for a homeless outreach group on the Antrim Road in the north of the city.

Although claiming to have once been on the fringes of the UVF, guitar playing Hall says he was was never a “signed up member”.

“I grew up in Bangor and there were paramilitaries all around me — that’s just the way it was,” he told Sunday Life.

Hall explained that the next step for his AVF group is to patrol the streets of Alice Springs, which he says they will do unarmed.

Referring to claims in the Australian press that he is a racist, Hall added: “It is true that the media over here have tried to portray the AVF and myself as racist. But the fact is that race plays no part in who the organisation targets.

“The Aborigines carry out their own form of punishment beatings by spearing the kneecap of someone who has wronged them. I don’t see what the big fuss is about the AVF doing similar.”

Hall insists that if police did a better job of combating crime in Alice Springs his paramilitary group would not exist and he would not be at the centre of a media storm.

“There is no police accountability over here,” he raged.

“When you watch a movie and see a big fat sheriff eating a doughnut that is just how the police are in Alice Springs.”

One thing he is worried about though is how his self-confessed links to the UVF will go down with the Irish community in Alice Springs.

Almost 10 per cent of the town identify as having Irish ancestry, a fact of which Hall is very aware.

He added: “Be fair to me when you write this because I drink in an Irish bar and don’t want the people down there thinking I’m some sort of mad loyalist. I’m doing this stuff with the AVF for the right reasons and to better the community.”

A Northern Territory police spokesperson said “upholding of the law is always best left to professional law enforcement officers” and confirmed officers are “monitoring” Hall’s group.


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