Arson attacks and the Furlan Club embroiled in Melbourne gangland conflict

February 28, 2024
Jane Louise

Suspected gangland conflict caused two Melbourne venues to become collateral damage last week after separate arson attacks.

Around 1:50am on 22 February, alarms were raised as the Furlan Club was set alight.

Around 6am the same day, police were then called to the Emerald Reception Centre in Thomastown, where twelve trucks responded to a blaze.

While there were no injuries or fatalities from the fires, each business sustained significant damage.

The Club, in Thornbury, had planned to host a boxing match on 24 February with Sam “The Punisher” Abdulrahim, professional boxer and former Mongols bikie.

Furlan Club. Image: Google maps

According to police, Kazem Hamad, a crime exile who has been at war with the boxer and others over a period of months, is suspected to have a link to the attacks.

A burnt-out car found on Mason Street in Reservoir, directly between the two venues, is being included in the investigation.

“At this stage investigators are treating the fires as linked and believe both attacks were potentially targeted at events scheduled to be held at the venues,” said a police spokesperson.

Arson specialists as well as taskforce Lunar, an organised crime taskforce, are investigating.

Furlan Club praised both staff and Fire Rescue Victoria in their quick responses to the blaze, which resulted in restricting the damage to the front of the venue.

This effectively saved the 67-year-old club’s historical memorabilia, and it vows to rebuild.

“The things that occupied our days, the lives we worked to help and change, the opportunities offered all came to a grinding halt,” the Club lamented in a statement on Facebook.

“The feeling that no longer were we able to gather for a common purpose, work, family, community, sharing and celebrations.

“The cultural significance of our club is undeniably historical. Australians along with our strong Italian community and culture will come together better and stronger than ever to watch our phoenix rise from the ashes.”

With similar sentiments, management of the Emerald Reception Centre vowed to support all affected parties who had bookings with the venue.

Management confirmed its commitment to rebuilding The Emerald “as swiftly as possible”, thanking patrons and fellow reception venues for their patience and support.

Emerald Reception Centre. Image supplied

Tags

arson, bikie, boxing, Furlan Club, gangland, Thornbury


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