Members of a Melbourne-based Facebook group selling and trading deadly weapons have panicked this morning after The Age revealed its existence to police.
"There are under cover jacks on this page delete everything u have ever posted Or inboxed make sure u clear your archive and clear your history and cookies clear everything I got raided over fire arms I was just lucky I wasn't home," one user posted this morning.
Handguns, stun-guns, pit-bull puppies, lasers and are being sold illegally on the Melbourne-based Facebook page, which has hundreds of members.
The Age has monitored the page for the past week as dozens of people have negotiated the sale of dangerous and potentially lethal weapons, also including swords, knuckledusters, crossbows, extendable batons and bullet-proof vests.
Also for sale are high-powered lasers, which were made illegal by the states and Commonwealth after they were shone into the cockpits of passenger aircraft taking off and landing at Australian airports.
Although The Age has chosen not to name the group or identify its members, it took only a few hours to apply to join the group and be accepted by its administrator. As of yesterday, it had almost 300 members.
"The Victoria Police E-Crime Squad was not aware this Facebook account existed until they were informed by The Age and will be investigating the information which has been provided," Detective Acting Superintendent John Manley said yesterday.
"Detectives from the E-Crime Squad have not had reports of any similar Facebook accounts. We encourage anyone who finds anything of a similar nature on Facebook or elsewhere on the internet that appears to have an Australian link to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."
People in the group have also attempted to buy handguns, and have discussed how to convert replica guns to make them fire. One member of the group said he could get 'dirty' handguns for around A$2000.
"I can get a few dirtys atm [at the moment] for bout 2g but they wont be going through my hands to urs, i can pass ur number on to the bloke but watever happens from there has nothin to do with me," he writes.
One member then said he could procure new snub-nosed .38 calibre revolvers for A$1100, while another says he can get new 9mm pistols for A$5500.
One group member asks where he can get a gun already used in a crime, in order to plant it in someone's house for the police to find.
"This is a self defense page not a weapons and murder plotting site, all items on the page are for self defense, not for harming others," is the response.
The most common weapons offered for sale on the site are stun-guns- which are a prohibited weapon in Victoria - including some that are disguised to look like lipstick and torches.
"50,000 volt torch taser made out of aluminum no cheap plastic s hit, brand new in box with charger, i will have them within a week or 2 the most, im looking at $450 each, this is no cheap Chinese s**t , it is the best quality out. Inbox me if interested," one post reads.
As well as weapons, members of the group are offering prescription medication such as OxyContin, a synthetic opiate known as "hillbilly heroin" in the United States because drug users can crush up and snort, smoke or inject it.
There is also discussion of committing prescription fraud to get hold of Clenbuterol, a medication used to treat asthma, but which is also used "off label" as a weight loss drug and performance enhancer by athletes.
Pure-bred pit-bull puppies - which owners are required to register under laws introduced after four-year-old Ayen Chol was mauled to death by a neighbour's pit-bull mastiff in St Albans last year - are being quoted on the website at $800.
The Age asked a Facebook representative for comment, but he said it was policy not to comment on individual groups. When they sign up, Facebook users agree not to use their account for illegal or unethical purposes.