A man has been charged with impersonating a federal police officer following an investigation linked to a fake AFP video calling for a coup against the federal government
It follows a disturbing fake video – which falsely claims to be from the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw – being circulated online and calling for an overthrow of the federal government.
Three search warrants were executed across Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville at the weekend by the Queensland Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) in response to the actions of the group allegedly impersonating government officials.
Other search warrants were executed across South Australia and Western Australia.
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Donoghoe said a Perth man had been arrested and charged with impersonating a Commonwealth public official.
He said police would be alleging the man unsuccessfully claimed to be an AFP official to obtain stamps and ID badges bearing the AFP’s logo.
It is not alleged the man featured in the fake video.
“These are people who believe our systems of government do not apply to them or are somehow illegal and must be usurped,” Mr Donoghoe said.
“It’s been well publicised in videos circulating (online) that this group wanted to establish a separate AFP force.
“They had issued several warrants for high profile government people and intended to execute those arrest warrants on those people.”
Mr Donoghoe said investigators were last week made aware of a shipment of three boxes of replica AFP badges in a house in Cairns where a member of the group lived.
These three boxes were found dumped in a local creek and recovered by the Queensland Police Service.
A total of 470 badges were recovered by police before the execution of search warrants and enquiries are continuing to ensure the entire shipment of badges has been recovered.
Mr Donoghoe slammed the video as baseless, saying the group had no capability to overthrow the government.
“This video is complete and utter nonsense. It is not from the AFP,” he said.
“It has absolutely no truth or credibility to it.”
Police will allege members of the group were responsible for the video, which falsely claims to be a recording of the AFP Commissioner detailing anti-government sentiment and encouraging others to join.