Omar Chaouk charged, Macchour and Walid Chaouk released after police seize weapons in Brooklyn house raid
Heavily-armed police at the Brooklyn scene and inset (from left) Mohamed (shot dead by police in 2005), Omar and Macchour Chaouk. Source: Herald Sun
Source: Herald Sun
Police load seized firearms into a car after the raid of the Chaouk home in Brooklyn. Macchour Chaouk, 64, and sons Omar, 18, and Walid, 36 were arrested at the scene. Picture: Trevor Pinder Source: Herald Sun
Special Ops and local police executed a warrant at a Brooklyn property. Picture: Trevor Pinder Source: Herald Sun
Three men arrested as heavily-armed cops raid properties in Melbourne’s west, including the home where Mohamed Chaouk was shot dead by police in 2005
Omar Chaouk (centre) is led away in handcuffs after a raid at a Brooklyn house. Picture: Trevor Pinder Source: Herald Sun
Walid Chaouk is led away in handcuffs after the raid on a Brooklyn house. Picture: Trevor Pinder Source: Herald Sun
UPDATE 12.03pm: COURT security is on alert today as a young man faces weapons charges linked to yesterday’s pre-dawn police raids.
Omar Chaouk , 18, was last night refused bail and was set to face court after heavily armed cops raided homes in Melbourne’s west.
But, after concerns over his behaviour, police barred media from covering an out-of-sessions court hearing citing Chaouk’s “demeanour”.
Chaouk, who turns 19 next week, was remanded by a magistrate and faced a string of charges.
Among those including possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing a handgun and ammunition, handling stolen goods and possessing the proceeds of crime.
He will appear before a magistrate today, with police expected to be prepared for family supporters to arrive in numbers for the hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Instead, the biggest turnout was from the media, with representatives from nearly every Melbourne outlet inside and outside the court today.
Some TV crews brought their own security guards with them, after threats were made to media during yesterday’s dramatic raids in the western suburbs.
Yesterday, police say they seized a pump- action shotgun, a revolver and ammunition from shotgun cartridges to .22, .45 and .38 calibre rounds during a raid on a Brooklyn house.
The hearing heard this included six shotgun cartridges, 43 .22 calibre rounds, 40 x .45 calibre rounds, a pump action shotgun, 14 x .38 calibre rounds, and a Smith and Wesson revolver.
The loaded guns, ammunition and dozens of passports were found in raids on the notorious family’s property.
Two members of the Chaouk family, who are suspected of being involved in drug trafficking and a series of shootings on Melbourne’s streets, were released by police after raids on four addresses in Melbourne’s west yesterday.
Family patriarch Macchour Chaouk, 64, and his two sons, Walid, 36, and Omar, 18, who have allegedly been embroiled in a feud with a rival Lebanese family from Melbourne’s north, the Haddaras, were arrested at the same house where Mohamed Chaouk was killed by police during a dawn raid in 2005.
As well as the weapons, 36 passports were found.
The arrests came after another family member, Matwali Chaouk, was charged with being in possession of a semi-automatic handgun last month and a murder charge was laid against cousin Ahmed Hablas this week for the shooting death of rival Mohammed Haddara in June last year.
Matwali’s arrest, and those made yesterday, were sparked by the shooting of another Haddara relative, Sam, last month. The 18-year-old was shot in the face after pulling his car over in Chambers Rd, Altona North, on June 6, when he was ambushed.
He required plastic surgery for serious facial injuries.
Mr Haddara is a cousin of Mohammed Haddara, 28, who was shot dead in Altona last year — sparking the tit-for-tat shootings mirroring violence in Melbourne’s gang wars.
About 30 heavily armed special operations group police and Santiago investigators, who searched the family house and two other properties in Brooklyn as well as an address in Tarneit yesterday morning, uncovered loaded firearms and ammunition.
One location raided was the Foam Booth Car Wash & Cafe in Geelong Rd, Brooklyn, which is run by another Middle Eastern family associated with the Chaouks.
The owners of the property have been unable to remove the tenants.
Macchour and Walid Chaouk were both released by police pending further investigations after being questioned for several hours at the St Kilda Rd Police Complex.
Supt Doug Fryer said investigations were continuing into the family.
“We’ve got a fair handle in relation to the dynamics of the groups that are involved,” he said. “I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we’re very pleased to have got these significant weapons off the street.”
He said the firearms were found at the Geelong Rd property after a search of the house, gardens and eaves.
During the arrests police created a human chain on the narrow street to prevent family members from getting close as the men were being taken into custody.
Family and friends appeared stunned during the arrests after earlier aggressively abusing media and a police officer as authorities searched the home.
Earlier, one had to be restrained after he abused and threatened to assault a plain-clothes policewoman who was walking past.
After the officer appeared to return the insult, the man was held back by one of his mates, before several officers raced over to restore order.
The hostile group also abused media crews, shouting obscentities at photographers and camera crews, with some throwing 50c pieces at other reporters.
Raids come years after fatal shooting
The dramatic scenes today came five years after a police officer shot Mohamed Chaouk in the chest and abdomen after he allegedly struck the officer’s wrist with a blunt samurai sword in April 2005.
That raid followed a six-month investigation into alleged criminal activities of some members of the Chaouk family.
The Chaouk family remain furious at the action and are suing the Government and 12 police, a police inspector and a superintendent in charge of the investigation, for “substantial damages”, believed to be in the millions of dollars.
Hunt for clues at raid homes
The alleged discoveries came after 10 search and rescue police officer equipped with shovels and metal detectors began digging up the front garden of the house, bringing up trees and bushes in the process.
Sniffer dogs were also sent into the Brooklyn property, and the owner of the property helped officers examine the backyard.
As the drama unfolded, media and police helicopters hovered overhead and traffic was brought to a standstill.
At least 30 officers and eight vehicles descended on the home at 6.30am, blocking a stretch of Geelong Rd between Grieve Pde and Millers Rd and side streets for nearly an hour, sparking traffic chaos on the busy thoroughfare.
Police spent several hours at the properties.
A witness, who worked across the road, told heraldsun.com.au she saw the flashing lights of the police cars about 6.30am.
Seconds later the roads were blocked, before she saw several officers move in.
“They just jumped from their cars with big guns and ran into the house,” she said.
She said she knew the house because the family had trouble there before.