Five Illawarra men with links to the Lone Wolf bikie gang have fronted Wollongong Local Court accused of instigating a brawl at Novotel North Beach two days before Christmas last year.
Elias Elchaar, 44, Mathew Gilmore, 29, Burah Esen, 22, Tony Jovanovski, 39 and Orce Niceski, 44, are each facing charges of affray and participating in a criminal group stemming from the incident, which occurred on the evening of December 23 inside the hotel’s bar, Pepe’s on the Beach.
Jovanovski is facing four additional charges of weapon possession relating to the day of his arrest.
Police allege one of the men, Elchaar, is a member of the South Coast chapter of the outlaw motorcycle gang, while the remainder are considered “gang associates”.
It is alleged the brawl took place inside the popular Cliff Road premises just after 10pm and involved up to seven men allegedly throwing chairs and glasses at each other.
Those involved had fled the scene by the time police arrived, however officers obtained CCTV footage of the incident and spoke to a number of witnesses who saw the incident unfold.
A crime scene was established and examined by specialist forensic officers.
Wollongong detectives teamed up with the State Crime Command’s gang’s squad, Strike Force Raptor, to investigate the matter, resulting in the simultaneous arrests of Elchaar, Jovanovski, Gilmore, Niceski and Esen just after 6am on February 1.
None of the group entered pleas to their respective charges during a brief mention of their matters in court on Tuesday.
All five men had their individual bail continued.
Under the conditions of the bail, each man is banned from contacting the other accused, any members of the Lone Wolf gang and any witnesses in the case, and they must not go within 200 metres of Pepe’s.
Some of the group are also subject to nighttime curfews.
The cases will return to court on May 9.