Australia's most wanted man tracked down in Turkey

Australia's most wanted man tracked down in Turkey
One of Australia's most wanted men has been tracked down in Turkey.
2 min read
07 June, 2021
Hakan Ayik was found to be living under a new name in Istanbul [Getty]

Australia's most wanted man has been tracked down in Turkey after more than a decade on the run, an investigation by major Australian news outlets has revealed.

The investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes found Hakan Ayik, an alleged member of Australia's largest drug-trafficking organisation, has been living a luxurious life in Istanbul since fleeing an Interpol arrest warrant in 2010.

Ayik, who is of Turkish descent, has since renounced his Australian citizenship and adopted another identity, the report claims.

In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, the crime boss owns a hotel and two homes in upscale neighbourhoods.

Australian journalists were able to track down Ayik - known down under as the "Facebook Gangster" for his penchant to flash his luxurious lifestyle online - through posts on social media.

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He has likely had plastic surgery to alter his appearance but has maintained his lifestyle of fast sports cars and designer clothes, the investigation found.

The report claims that Ayik continues to operate dealings in Australia through the use of encrypted communication platforms.

Turkish authorities have not yet commented on whether they will extradite Ayik to Australia.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission says nine of the country's most wanted crime bosses have organised themselves into a cartel in recent years, reported The Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes.

While the Commission has not formally named the men involved, police sources told the Australian media outlets that Ayik was among its founding members.

The cartel also includes leaders of Australian motorcycle gangs and crime bosses with links to the UAE and Lebanon.

The so-called "Aussie Cartel" has revenues of $1.5 billion a year with annual profits of $1 billion, the crime agency estimates.

The drug syndicate has "extensively" penetrated Australia's border controls, the agency alleged.