Few people in Perth have made the news for as long as John Kizon.
None have had the sort of headlines that ensure the 56-year-old is part of this city’s rich tapestry.
“Police probe Kizon links”, “Kizon’s money man beats probe”, “Untouchable”, “Hunted Kizon able to stay bulletproof” and “Kizon vows revenge” are just a smattering of what the Perth businessman has woken to over more than three decades.
Whether he is being called JK, a Northbridge identity, the ponytail or a former organised crime target, no one can dispute that Mr Kizon is a fighter who rarely takes a backward step.
Some journalists and a long list of law enforcement officers from various agencies across the country would attest to that.
Since the mid-1980s, no fewer than 15 police operations have targeted the former Balcatta Senior High School student or his associates.
“I was the one who was hunted,” Mr Kizon said in 2010, after beating insider trading charges brought by the Australian Crime Commission. “Now, Mr Kizon’s going to be the hunter.”
The story goes he and his co-accused Nigel Mansfield settled the legal fallout from that failed prosecution for close to $10 million.
“This keeps making me stronger,” Mr Kizon declared.
But in recent years there have been rumours of a mild stroke and other medical conditions affecting the businessman’s lifestyle.
When he walked up to a US reporter filming ahead of the June meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, there was plenty of interest back home in how Mr Kizon looked and spoke.
What became abundantly clear is that the former boxer, who once dated Rose Hancock’s daughter, is an aficionado of US politics and television current affairs programs.
“I’m a big supporter of Donald Trump,” he told Voice of America’s live Facebook feed. “I think Pompeo is doing a great job.
“Coming from the CIA and moving up, he’s a lot better than Rex Tillerson.”
There are plenty of other recordings of Melbourne-born Mr Kizon. Most were gathered covertly.
When The West Australian gave great prominence to his life story in a series titled Perth’s Dark Underbelly, Mr Kizon hit back by putting his early run-ins with police down to youth, naivety and loyalty.
“My old man told me you are responsible for your own actions,” he said at the time.
“If you are in trouble, you cop it on the chin. I was 18 years old, a bit naive and copped it in the arse.”
Apart from colourful quotes, Mr Kizon is known for his kaleidoscope of associates. They have included the late Perth millionaire Laurie Connell — who was probably appreciative of the connection when he ended up behind bars in 1994 — and Melbourne underworld figures such as Mick Gatto, from his early days growing up in Fitzroy.
“I have a lot of friends — Muslim friends, Christian friends and I am Orthodox myself,” he said in 2010.
“When people say what religion are you, I say Fitzroy.”
But those who have paid attention to the adventures of Mr Kizon know that the names Troy Mercanti and Fabian Quaid were often close to the action.
Taken before Mercanti and Quaid were jailed on separate matters, a photograph of the trio dressed as Superman, Spider-Man and Batman said it all.
Some have argued Mr Kizon has thrived on the image forged through numerous television news stories and thousands of centimetres of newspaper copy.
It is often said that the reputation created by all the publicity has been good for his business, which includes a company that resolves disputes and is called All Mediation Services.
But around the time of the Connell jailing, Mr Kizon released a statement that showed his obvious frustration at how he gets depicted and reported on.
“The suggestion that Mr Connell has paid me anything to secure his safety in prison is ludicrous,” he said. “I gather, too, that I am the ‘feared Northbridge criminal’ and the ‘crime figure’ alleged to be involved in the trafficking of drugs into prisons here. These allegations are too stupid for words. They are totally untrue and without foundation.”
Years later, after his name surfaced in Parliament during a discussion about new proceeds of crime laws, Mr Kizon again went on the front foot.
“I have no problem accounting for what I own,” he said.
“They would have looked at me years ago. They know my books are squeaky clean.”
Today’s front page of The West Australian says “Kizon’s fight for life”. There were indications late yesterday that the well-known Perth identity had plenty of headlines left in him.