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Police fear bikie gangs could join feud

John Silvester

August 17, 2010

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POLICE fear the violent feud between the Chaouks and another Lebanese family could escalate if national bikie gangs become involved.

About 15 members of the Hells Angels attended Machhour Chaouk's funeral in a show of strength. Chaouk's son, Ali, is believed to be a prospect with the gang.

CBD killer and Hells Angel Christopher Wayne Hudson placed a death notice in the Herald Sun for Machhour Chaouk. Hudson was sentenced to life with a 35-year minimum for the murder of solicitor Brendan Keilar, whom he shot dead in the CBD in 2007, and the wounding of two others.

Hells Angels at the funeral of Macchour Chaouk

Hells Angels at the funeral of Macchour Chaouk Photo: Wayne Taylor

Law enforcement intelligence experts have been concerned over growing links between Lebanese crime cells and bikies. Some bikie gangs, once influenced by white supremacists and espousing racist views, now encourage ethnic membership. Sydney police say two of the most violent gangs, the Comancheros and Notorious, have strong Lebanese membership.

Melbourne detectives say a recent increase in bikie gangs and growing tension over turf have led to recruitment drives.

One investigator said some of the recruits of Middle Eastern origin were seen as valuable to the gangs as they often had strong firearm and drug connections. ''It is all about guns and drugs,'' he said.

Melbourne detectives are liaising with NSW and Australian Federal Police officers over the Chaouk murder. The family has strong links to a group of violent criminals in Sydney.

When Machhour Chaouk's son Mohamed was shot dead by police in 2005, there were concerns Sydney associates would travel to Melbourne seeking revenge.

Meanwhile, police have met relatives and friends of Machhour Chaouk to tell them to leave the investigation to police.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones said: ''I'm here to warn them and advise them not to take the law into their own hands.''

The probe centres on a feud between the Chaouk and Haddara families. Sir Ken confirmed Ahmed Haddara was still a person of interest in the investigation. Haddara has been questioned and released by homicide squad detectives.


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