“Any deal with Mr Hamzy would include the surrender of these rocket launchers first and then any deal would come into effect,” Mr Khan said.
“The longer these items are in the community the risk always remains of it falling into the wrong hands.”
Sources familiar with the proposed deal said Hamzy was offering to help secure five rocket launchers and other dangerous weapons, including hand grenades.
The deal could include a reduction in Hamzy’s prison sentence. He has also indicated a willingness to be deported to Lebanon, where his family migrated from, or another country.
Hamzy is said to have requested a meeting with the NSW government in December 2018 and representatives indicated in February 2019 that they wanted police to assess the proposal.
He is considered one of the country’s most dangerous prisoners and has been in custody since 1999 for a string of criminal convictions including drug supply, murder and conspiracy to murder. He will not be eligible for parole for at least another 15 years and is facing further charges for allegedly running a drug supply syndicate from behind bars over recent years.
A spokesperson for NSW Police said the force had conducted “exhaustive” investigations into the location of the rocket launchers and had taken seriously representations from potential sources who wanted reductions in sentences, indemnity for criminal syndicates or other rewards.
“No material evidence in relation to the rocket launchers has been produced, which leads us to question the validity of the claims and the integrity of the provider of the information,” the spokesperson said.
Deborah Wallace, a former commander of the NSW Police gangs squad, said Hamzy raised his offer from time to time, particularly when he had matters before the courts.
“On numerous occasions we have tried to prove their existence and facilitate their surrender. However, on all occasions this has been unsuccessful and many years after he first made the offer, there has been no proof,” she said.
A senior police source said Hamzy’s proposed deals had included “outlandish things that are beyond what the police can give him”.
The details of a November 2009 proposal to the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions about the rocket launchers emerged recently in court documents. In a seven-page letter, Hamzy suggested an elaborate scheme to recover the weapons in return for a plea deal for his father.
The 66-millimetre rocket launchers have a range of up to 200 metres against stationary targets. They were taken with explosive rockets that detonate on impact.
Only one of the stolen weapons has ever been recovered. Police previously suspected some were stashed in outer Sydney bushland but extensive searches have found nothing.
While the weapons have long passed their official military use-by date, they are still considered dangerous.
A Defence spokesperson said the missing weapons were under investigation by NSW Police and urged members of the public to contact the police if they come across unexploded ordnance.
“All military ordnance, no matter the age, should be treated as dangerous,” the spokesperson said.
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Fergus Hunter is a crime reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.