- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

SYDNEY (AP) - Travelers watched in terror as warring bikers brawled through Australia’s largest airport Sunday as a suspected gang member was beaten to death with metal barrier poles.

The melee erupted in the main domestic terminal at Sydney Airport when a group of men suspected of belonging to a biker gang was apparently ambushed by a different gang.

Police Detective Inspector Peter Williams said 15 men were engaged in the violence, which rampaged from the ground floor up one level to the departures hall before most of the men fled.

“They came running through picking up the big metal barrier poles and swinging them like swords at each other,” witness Naomi Constantine told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“I saw one of the men lying on the ground and another man came up with a pole and just started smashing it into his head,” she said.

Williams said one man died in a hospital from head injuries after the brawl.

Four men were arrested, Williams said. The others escaped, some of them by stepping into taxis, local media reported. No charges were immediately laid.

“A group of males have exited a plane and they were met by another group of males who we believe may be other motorcycle gang members,” Williams told reporters. “A fight ensued, the fight moved through various parts of the terminal to the ultimate location where the man was deceased.”

Police did not identify the gangs suspected to be involved in the violence.

Gang violence in Australia is rare on such a public scale, though authorities warn a biker war may be emerging in Sydney.

There have been a string of drive-by shootings into houses and a tattoo parlor, and last month an explosion went off outside a fortified Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse, damaging property but causing no injuries.

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