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The Ulster mafia making a packet out of their rackets

(Mike Browne, The People)

PSNI claims that recent police operations have 'put the fear of God' into loyalist terrorists are ringing hollow in the Loyalist Volunteer Force stronghold of Lurgan.

The boast by PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan last week that police have loyalist terrorists on the run came as Stormont Security Minister Jane Kennedy vowed the new Assets Recovery Agency will hit terrorist financing hard. But while mainstream loyalist terror groups were reeling, LVF chiefs in Lurgan are running amok.

The People has learnt that the small number of killers and criminals in Lurgan posing as the LVF are creaming in large sums of money from drug running, robberies and extortion.

Based in the Mourneview estate of Lurgan, the 'Mourneview Mafia' are backing up their rackets through intimidation, shootings and beatings.

The main members of the gang are convicted terrorist Robin 'Billy' King, 38, and Neil Hyde, 23, both from Lurgan. King served four years of a 16-year sentence for attempted murder while a member of the UVF. Convicted He was later tried and acquitted of the LVF murder of fellow LVF member David Keys, while both were in the Maze Prison in 1998. Hyde was convicted in 1997 of armed robbery with a breadknife, after using a 10-year-old's BMX to rob a local shop of a pound.

Reliable loyalist and security sources have confirmed King has been heavily engaged in protection rackets.

Just last month The People reported that King had bought a large luxury flat in a plush Co Armagh development with the profits from his rackets. But it has now emerged that King, who lives in a modest terraced house bedecked with loyalist flags in the Mourneview estate in Lurgan, recently terrorised the developer to hand over the keys to the flat.

It has been reported that King targeted the developer for 'protection' money during the summer, but was rebuffed. But it has emerged that the luxury pad was shot up in a terrorist attack by at least two men

using shotguns, who blasted the windows in the luxury complex, as a warning. And it has been claimed that the men who carried out the attack were King and Hyde, who were caught on security camera, but police were unable to bring charges as the developer did not want to pursue the issue.

The developer was unavailable for comment, but is believed to have refused to press charges. A police spokesman would not comment on the claims. And the incidents have remained unreported until now.

One security source has admitted King 'had been hitting businesses all over', especially builders and developers'. One LVF insider says King recently succeeded in extorting a whopping 85,000 from one prominent building firm, although our top security source rejects this: "I don't think he would have got that much in one go.

"Paying money is bad enough, but sometimes it's the reality.

"However, paying that amount wouldn't be in the builder's interests."

King is also said to have taken 24,000 from another developer. King, said by one LVF insider, to be 'more ruthless than Billy Wright' was recently disgraced in the eyes of fellow loyalist terrorists when his secret Catholic past was revealed.

Reliable loyalist sources say his status as the overall LVF chief was damaged, and that west Belfast UDA boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair ordered King never to return to the Shankill over the affair. Their close ties led to Adair's recent expulsion from the UDA.

The LVF terror campaign has also made headlines recently.

A recent gun attack on the home of a Protestant family in the Brownstown area of Portadown has been attributed to a junior LVF member, whose elder brother was a loyalist who killed frequently at the request of former UVF brigadier and LVF creator Billy 'King Rat' Wright. And a racist attack on an Asian family in the Mourneview estate on Halloween night has been linked to Hyde.

The Asian man and his family suffered a torrent of missiles and abuse when their privately rented house, which fronts onto sick LVF murals plastered over the local community centre, was attacked by a crowd of youths.

One eyewitness was too afraid to intervene, but revealed: "His windows were splashed in black paint with 'Paki Get Out Now - Combat 18 National Front.'

The attack saw the house being pelted with eggs, daubed with racist graffiti, the front door kicked repeatedly, the family car damaged and a window broken and fireworks thrown into the house. A Housing Executive spokesman could only confirm a family has presented itself as homeless to its local office.

Although police confirmed they were investigating 'a racially motivated attack on a Pakistani family in the Pollock Drive area of Lurgan' they have not linked the attack to the LVF. But in reality it was the LVF - and another example of their complete control of the area.

November 15, 2002

This article appeared first in the The People on November 10, 2002.

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