As is our morbid duty, the Kooka Brothers yesterday joined mourners at Sydney’s Chevra Kadisha synagogue, in Woollahra, to pay our respects to Abraham Gilbert Saffron – the departed gangland chieftain/property developer, known universally as Mr Sin – who we can now safely say was neither poor nor honest.

Of course, the only reason we can safely say this is that the bast-rd is dead and can no longer sue us under those vicious libel laws that the English enacted in 1265 to protect the guilty and punish the innocent. Why they still apply in this country and in this day and age is beyond the ken of the Kookas.

You never quite knew how much blood was on Abe’s hands because he preferred to make love rather than war. The love was with his strippers and prostitutes. He had other people do the messy war stuff. Usually “Big Jim” Anderson, a Scottish git/business associate of Abe’s who, on the balance of probabilities, knocked off Juanita Neilsen in Victoria Street and planted the bomb at Luna Park that took seven lives. Big Jim certainly killed Lennie “Mr Big” McPherson’s favourite standover man, Donny “The Glove” Smith. Anderson shot him three times – once in the chest, twice in the back. He pleaded self-defence and got away with murder. Does this remind you of someone we have written about recently?

Big Jim later had, according to Neil Mercer: “A spectacular falling out with Saffron in the early 1980s saw him become an informer for the National Crime Authority where he spilled the beans on what he called ‘the black cash/white cash’ or in other words, the two sets of accounting books.” Does this remind you of Steve Vizard’s recent travails?

Saffron was convicted of tax fraud and went to jail for 17 months. Anderson, who always carried a .32 Browning when in Kings Cross, died of bird flu in 2003 from feeding his rosellas in the Blue Mountains. He was 73.

The Kookas do have many fond memories of old Abe – constantly surrounded by body-guarding “chicky babes” at Coco’s restaurant in West Perth on Friday afternoons. Although he was “Boss of the Cross”, he had extensive interstate property interests including the Raffles Hotel at Canning Bridge in Perth and Lygon Lodge at Carlton, in Melbourne. He was an absolute rogue but he had some style. He mixed and matched Star of David bling bling with an RSL badge. He even revelled in the clichéd euphemism of “colourful Sydney racing identity” or CSRI.

Although the rabbi said yesterday that Mr Sin “was a man of goodwill”, you would be wise to resist that thought entering your head. However, the Kookas are of the opinion that Mr Sin was not as intrinsically evil as Mr Ice – the at large Antonios Mokbel – whose evil empire to this day peddles “ice”, or crystal methamphetamine, to our children as a “party drug”. The only time Mr Sin ran away was in 1940 when he got nabbed for receiving stolen car radios (which must have been as rare as hen’s teeth). Saffron got a suspended sentence provided he joined the army and went away to war. Mokbel’s sentence is suspended because he just ran way.

Peter Fray

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