- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

SYDNEY (AP) - The leader of a biker gang involved in a deadly brawl at Australia’s busiest airport last month was arrested Monday and charged in connection to the fight, police and his lawyer said.

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.

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