$1.2 Million Seized In Money Laundering Crackdown

It was a dramatic, Hollywood-style arrest in the middle of Sydney that allegedly brought down a sophisticated money laundering syndicate.

Three Hong Kong nationals were walking down busy Sussex Street on Friday evening, but it was their backpack that made police swoop.

Dodging the crowds, undercover officers chased the three of them down and arrested them on the steps of a hairdresser.

Two men, aged 40 and 25, and a 34-year-old woman were charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime and operating within a criminal network.

Police then searched a property at Campsie and a hotel room in Bondi Junction, seizing $180,000 in cash along with mobile phones and SIM cards.

Image: 10 News First

It’s alleged they have been collecting the profits from criminal activities and sending it offshore.

Two more people were arrested in Bondi Junction Shopping Centre – believed to be their affiliates.

On Saturday, police had another win, arresting Branimir Ilic after allegedly finding $1 million in cash in the boot of his car.

The 38 year-old was the passenger in a car travelling northbound along the Hume Highway and one that police suspect has been running cash between Sydney and Melbourne.

Ilic was also charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime and was meant to front court today -- that was until he had a heart attack and his matter was adjourned.

His 47 year-old driver was charged with driving while unlicensed.

Image: 10 News First

According to Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke, these arrests are the result of good, old-fashioned detective work.

“This is a message to (those) dealing in or associated with the proceeds of crime," he told Ten News First.

"These offences are every bit as a serious as dealing in the substantive offences themselves…and we will continue to attack those people and rip their assets from them."