Held in custody: Mesbah Mirzaei.
A criminal gang purporting to be part of a network founded by infamous SuperMax inmate Bassam Hamzy has emerged in Sydney's upper north shore.
At least six young men claiming to be from the Brothers For Life gang allegedly visited Mohamed Mangal at Absolute Smash Repairs in Waitara several times in July and August, demanded $40,000 and threatened to set the business alight with him inside if he did not comply.
They allegedly told Mr Mangal they were from Brothers For Life. However, police believe they have nothing to do with the on-again-off-again Bankstown gang founded by convicted murderer Hamzy in 2008.
Rather, they are part of a disturbing trend of young Middle Eastern men using the ''brand'' or ''banner'' of the gang to start their own unrelated criminal groups.
''They're using the reputation Brothers For Life has to be able to intimidate people and commit these sorts of offences,'' said Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad boss Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace.
Fairfax Media reported last month that police had begun noticing these non-affiliated groups around Blacktown, Parramatta and Guildford in the past year but this is believed to be the first time a group claiming to be Brothers For Life has emerged in the northern suburbs.
Detective Superintendent Wallace said the north shore group had made their own Brothers For Life merchandise and relied on intimidation and extortion. ''They tend to go in packs,'' she said. ''Often we'll see them in shopping centres in groups. That can be intimidating to the public.''
Nazir Akbari, 27, and Mesbah Mirzaei, 25, were refused bail in Parramatta Local Court on Thursday after being arrested the previous night and charged with demand money with menaces and participating in a criminal group.
They posted images of themselves in Brothers For Life gear online in July, at the height of the alleged campaign against Mr Mangal.
At least four alleged members remain free. Court documents say Mr Merzaei and Mr Akbari ''knowingly participated'' in a gang with four others in an attempt to extort $40,000 from Mr Mangal.
Fairfax Media understands that police believe they know who all members of the new north shore gang are and have them under surveillance.
Detective Superintendent Wallace believes the Waitara incident was not a one-off but no other victims have come forward.
"We'd call on anyone else who's been threatened to come forward and let us do out job. We will act on it,'' she said.
Mr Mangal tried to ignore the threats for weeks before going to the police. ''I had to [contact them] for the sake of my family,'' he said.