Top cop: Bikies took a contract out on my head
A bikie taking out a contract on his life was just one of the many challenges Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis faced in 38 years as a cop.
The veteran officer retired yesterday, as 260 new recruits formed a guard of honour for him at the Police Academy at Goulburn.
The one-time champion body builder and accountant told The Saturday Telegraph that a strike force was set up to investigate the threat when he was boss of the Gang Squad and cameras installed in his home.
"There was credible intelligence about the contract, a substantial amount of money was being offered,'' Supt Katsogiannis said. "As a policeman it's part of the job and you expect it but it's disruptive to the family, and you hate that. But I believe God and my faith helped me a lot and protected me, as well as the support of my wife Amelia."
Supt Katsogiannis, who was later joined in the police force for several years by son Daniel, started out in 1980 as a constable at Balmain.
"In those days bikies were a couple of guys sitting on motorcycles outside the Bourbon and Beefsteak at Kings Cross and not the organised crime groups they became,'' he said.
Thirty years later he was instrumental in drafting consorting laws which have decimated bikie gangs in this state.
He has worked on some of the city's most high-profile cases, including the arrest of former attorney-general and judge Jeff Shaw after a car crash in 2004.
"It was a massive case after he was arrested … and taken to the local hospital, then the story just got bigger,'' he recalled.
Supt Katsogiannis became aware a vial of blood belonging to Shaw was missing from the hospital.
"I started an inquiry, which was obviously very sensitive and I had the deputy commissioner ringing every day," he said.
Shaw, who died in 2010, was later charged with negligent driving and driving while drunk, and was fined $3000 and disqualified from driving for a year.
Other cases included the NRL betting scandal, in which Bulldogs star Ryan Tandy was charged in 2010 after he deliberately held down an opposing Cowboys player in front of the goalposts to give away a penalty.
He and others stood to make $100,000 if the Cowboys scored a penalty goal. "It went pear-shaped when the Cowboys took the tap and scored a try instead," Supt Katsogiannis said.
Tandy was ultimately convicted over the match-fixing, and died of a drug overdose in 2014.
As head of the firearms squad in 2009, Supt Katsogiannis led an investigation that uncovered a criminal network supplying weapons to bikies including a Russian-designed AK-47 assault rifle, a Colt AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, a WWII Austin Mark 1 machinegun and a number of sub-machineguns.
"Getting those weapons off the street and keeping them out of the hands of crooks and potentially terrorists was very important to me,'' he said.
Perhaps his most famous case, which made world headlines, was when he literally pulled the plug on a banned movie.
In 2003 the Australian Censorship Board banned public showing of a movie called Ken Park which dealt with subjects such as teenage sex, incest and autoerotic asphyxiation.
More than 500 people including TV stars and actors had packed Balmain Town Hall and were about to watch the movie.
"Just as they were about to show the movie I ordered a constable to pull the plug, to cut the power to the projector," he said.