Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jail or graveyard for the Chaouk family ?

Tomorrow, many are likely to have an eye cast on the funeral of the head of one of Australia’s prominent crime family dynasties, the Chaouk family. Macchour Chaouk (65) will be laid to rest at the Fawkner Cemetery in Victoria, Australia on Monday. Gunned down at his home in the same fashion as his son, Mahomed Chaouk was gunned down by police in 2005, Macchour will be buried next to his son’s grave tomorrow. Just as we noted in an earlier posting about the crime empire of the Coke family of Jamaica, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword and you risk dragging your whole family into the grave with you. It is really absurd when a whole clan becomes a mini-mafia whose members initially appear and feel invincible, but eventually meet their demise one by one.

The Chaouk family is said to have links with the Lebanese crime gangs of Sidney and is embroiled in a bitter family feud with the rival Lebanese-Australian, Haddara clan. Macchour’s history of brushes with the law includes several drug trafficking convictions, armed assault, and burglary, amongst others. I have never been part of, let alone headed a family crime syndicate, but I sure would like to understand how family love and unity can become so strong in such a twisted and warped nature? Do such family heads deliberately groom their offspring from an early age to join in their devious life path or do the children grow up observing and idolising their criminal elders so much that they opt to follow suit?

From what I have read and come to know about the Chaouk family through news articles such as this one and this one, the death of Macchour as the head, is not the end of the family’s infamous legacy. A family spokesman has alluded to more trouble when he was quoted as saying:

"There is going to be no wake. We won't start grieving until the right thing happens. We won't have a wake until other right people are buried. You understand."
I sense that it will become a vicious circle of kill, get killed and kill again.

There is a long chain of investigations and arrests linked to Macchour’s sons and a cousin. Matwali Chaouk (26), is being held for drug trafficking, theft and reckless driving; Ali Chaouk (30), was last month refused bail for bashing and fracturing a German tourist’s skull; Omar (18), and Waleed Chaouk (36), were only last month arrested then released with Macchour for gun related offences (36) and Cousin, Ahmed Hablas (22), is charged with the murder of Mohamed Haddara, a member of the rival family.

This is a movie writer’s dream script but it also leads us to ponder over how and when this madness will end. I reckon that there are two ways. Either they all carry on in this self-destruct mode until they are all in prison or dead, or someone must come to their senses and stop the free fall. Hopefully Fatima Chaouk will step into those shoes; if at all her husband’s murder has shown her that crime does not pay.

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