Underworld figure at centre of AFP’s biggest criminal sting outed as hotel owner

An Australian fugitive who unwittingly helped the Australian Federal Police (AFP) execute a three-year global operation has been revealed as the owner of a Turkish hotel.

Hakan Ayik (pictured above), who fled Australia more than 10 years ago just as he was about to be arrested over a massive heroin shipment, has been named as the man who inadvertently aided the AFP in its biggest-ever criminal sting.

Operation Ironside has resulted in more than 100 hundred organised crime members charged after developing a world-leading capability to see encrypted communications used exclusively by organised crime.

The encrypted communications – which allegedly included plots to kill, mass drug trafficking and gun distribution – were decrypted from a platform covertly run by the FBI called AN0M, which was distributed throughout the criminal underworld as an app in Australia and overseas without them knowing.

And, it turns out Ayik played a big part in the distribution of AN0M without realising what was really going on, with ABC News reporting that was given a phone with the app on it by undercover agents.

According to multiple reports Ayik, who is now very much a wanted man, has been living in the Turkish city of Istanbul for quite some time under the name Hakan Reis with his wife, Fleur Messelink.

And, according to Turkish business records seen by The Sydney Morning Herald, Hakan Reis is the owner of the city’s Kings Cross Hotel.

Image source: Facebook/Kings Cross Hotel Istanbul

The boutique property is located in the heart of Istanbul’s city centre, and has a 9.5 out of 10 rating on, and a perfect rating on Tripadvisor.

“Situated in Istanbul and with Istanbul Sapphire reachable within 1.3 kilometres, Kings Cross Hotel Istanbul features express check-in and check-out, allergy-free rooms, a restaurant, free WiFi throughout the property and a bar,” the hotel’s description says on

Image source: Facebook/Kings Cross Hotel Istanbul


“Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests.

“All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a desk.

“With a private bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries, rooms at the hotel also boast a city view. All guest rooms at Kings Cross Hotel Istanbul are equipped with a seating area.”

Travel Weekly has contacted Kings Cross Hotel for comment.

Featured image source: Facebook/Kings Cross Hotel Istanbul