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Monday, 6 April 2009

Comanchero leader Mahmoud Mick Hawi was charged Monday with fighting in public in a way that caused bystanders to fear for their safety


16:47 |

Mahmoud "Mick" Hawi, leader of the Commancheros, is the sixth member of the gang arrested over the clash that left a Hell's Angels biker bleeding to death in front of terrified travelers at a domestic terminal at Sydney Airport.The slaying thrust long-simmering violence between biker gangs in Australia into the public spotlight, raised fears of widespread reprisal attacks and prompted a crackdown by authorities.Hawi, 28, was due to appear in court later Monday. His lawyer, John Korn, told reporters Hawi would ask to be released on bail.In the March 22 brawl, Anthony Zervas, the brother of a Hell's Angels leader in Sydney, was bludgeoned to death with metal poles after members of both gangs disembarked from the same flight from the southern city of Melbourne.A week later, an unknown gunman opened fire on the brother, Peter Zervas, hitting him several times and badly wounding him as he sat in a car outside his apartment building.No one has been charged in Anthony Zervas' killing. The charges against the Commanchero members are for "affray" — fighting in public and causing bystanders to fear for their safety. They face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.Last week, the New South Wales state government rushed through tough new laws that allow officials to ban gangs and imprison those who defy such a ban for up to five years.Police have also launched a new anti-gang unit to tackle biker violence.
motorcycle gang leader surrendered to police Monday and became the sixth biker charged in connection with a brawl that left a rival bleeding to death before shocked travelers at Australia's busiest airport.The March 22 slaying at Sydney's domestic airport thrust long-simmering violence among biker gangs in Australia into the public spotlight, raised fears of widespread reprisal attacks and prompted a crackdown by authorities.No one has been charged with causing the death of Anthony Zervas, the brother of a well-known Hell's Angels member, who was bludgeoned to death during a rolling melee between Hell's Angels and Comanchero gang members through the terminal.Comanchero leader Mahmoud Mick Hawi was charged Monday with fighting in public in a way that caused bystanders to fear for their safety — a crime called affray — at the airport.
Five other Comanchero members have previously been charged with the same offense, and each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted.John Korn, Hawi's lawyer, said his client gave himself up Monday. Hawi appeared briefly in court and ordered to jail pending a bail hearing Tuesday.A week after the brawl, an unknown gunman opened fire on the victim's brother, Peter Zervas, hitting him several times and badly wounding him as he sat in a car outside his apartment building.Last week, the New South Wales state government rushed through tough new laws that allow officials to ban gangs and imprison those who defy such a ban for up to five years.Police have also launched a new anti-gang unit to tackle biker violence.Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Monday without naming sources that state Premier Nathan Rees and Police Minister Tony Kelly have been placed under 24-hour guard by armed police because of fears bikers could launch attacks in revenge for the crackdown. Rees and Kelly refused to comment.
Biker gangs have existed in Australia since the late 1960s, and turf battles have ebbed and flowed.


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