Police block off a street at Bondi Junction, an eastern suburb of Sydney on June 27, 2023 after a suspected shooting incident. Image Credit: AFP

Sydney: Australian police said a man was killed in Sydney’s famed Bondi neighbourhood Tuesday, in what local media called a “gang hit”.

A police cordon was thrown up around one of Sydney’s busiest shopping precincts and not far from Bondi Beach, after there were “shots fired” in a parking lot.

“The male driver died at the scene. He has not been formally identified but is believed to be aged in his 40s,” police said.

“Police believe a burnt-out Porsche located on James Street, Bondi Junction, about the same time, is linked to the shooting.”

Local newspaper the Daily Telegraph said the victim was allegedly linked to organised crime groups.

Olivia Scanlan, a 27-year-old local actress and dancer, said she was “shocked” by the shooting in the normally peaceful neighbourhood, which is usually associated with surf and backpackers rather than gangland hits.

“I have friends that come here to visit and they think, ‘Wow, Australia is a dream’,” she told AFP. “They think it is so safe and this is so different to home.”

“You can walk around at night time and feel like nothing is going to happen.”

Despite having a population of just 26 million people, Australia is one of the world’s most lucrative markets for recreational drugs, with street prices far above those found in Europe or North America.

In 2019-2020, the last period for which data is available, some 39 tonnes of drugs were seized by police and 166,321 drug arrests occurred.

Local motorcycle gangs have increasingly made contact with Mexican and other cartels to bring drugs into the country, according to Australian authorities.