In the outlaw bikie world, bigger almost always
means better. Unless you were Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi.
At 178cm tall, Hawi’s frame was muscular
without appearing dominating. There was more to the Beirut-born bikie
Former bikie boss Mahmoud "Mick" Hawi has
been shot in the face outside a Fitness First in Rockdale in
And so it was that Hawi, whilst still aged just
22, and four years after joining the Comancheros as a teenager, took
over running the fierce mob of One Percenters.
He was the national president and he demanded
It was six years into his reign when he became
a household name in certain sections of Sydney after his Comancheros
took on a group of Hells Angels in the now-infamous Sydney Airport brawl
that was to see one of Hawi’s rivals dead and the bikie boss facing a
long stretch in jail.
The brawl, where Hells Angel Anthony Zervas was
killed, followed an ongoing feud between the two gangs which included
the firebombing of the Hells Angels clubhouse in Petersham and several
other businesses linked to the gang in Brighton-Le-Sands.
On at least one occasion at Brighton Le-Sands,
graffiti painted in front of the premises read ACCA - Always Comanchero,
In the midst of the melee, Anthony Zervas, who
had gone to school with Hawi, was brutally bludgeoned to death.
In November 2011, Hawi was found guilty of
murdering Zervas, who was struck with a bollard and stabbed in the chest
and abdomen in the airport’s domestic departure hall.
Hawi was sentenced to a maximum of 28 years in
prison with a non-parole period of 21 years.
On sentencing Hawi on the murder charge, NSW
Supreme Court Justice Robert Allan Hulme spoke of Hawi’s “uneventful, if
meagre” childhood after he moved with his family from Lebanon to Sydney
when he was just five.
Hawi left high school after finishing his
school certificate aged about 16, taking an apprenticeship at his
father’s spray painting business for up to four years as he attended
Hawi then bought a car detailing business with
his family before establishing a refrigerated transport company in 2007,
when Hawi was 27.
“By all accounts, this was a successful
business that also employed [Hawi’s] father,’’ Justice Hulme said.
“However, business has all but ceased operation
since he was remanded in custody.’’
But in 2014, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal
set aside the murder conviction and Hawi was subsequently allowed to
plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
He was sentenced to a maximum of six years and
two months, with a minimum non-parole period of three years six months.
He was released in 2015 to an address in
regional NSW after the State Parole Authority granted his freedom
subject to 22 conditions.
But it appears southern Sydney was where Hawi’s
Before the brawl, Hawi had lived at Bexley with
his childhood sweetheart Carolina Gonzales, who he met in 1995 and
married in 2002, and their two children.
Other than a few driving offences, an offensive
language charge and being caught in possession of prescribed restricted
substance in 2005, Hawi’s record was relatively clean.
At least in comparison to other bikies.
But Hawi definitely had a growing reputation
within the Sydney underworld before his incarceration.
Before he was ambushed and an unknown gunman
pumped numerous rounds into his Mercedes four-wheel drive on Thursday,
Hawi had kept out of the limelight since his release.
After promising his wife on his release that he
would not rejoin the Comancheros, Hawi remained friends with some
He was rumoured to be working “in
But his history continued to bubble to the
surface, with rumours of contracts being taken out on him.
There were a lot of people who might have
wanted Hawi dead.