Mobster Tony Mokbel has been stabbed at Barwon Prison.
Mobster Tony Mokbel has been stabbed at Barwon Prison.

What sparked savage jail attack on Mokbel

DRUG lord Tony Mokbel is tonight fighting for survival after a brutal prison ambush.

The 53-year-old crime kingpin was in intensive care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being stabbed inside maximum-security Barwon Prison, near Geelong.

Mokbel and a 31-year-old man were set upon by two other inmates in a mainstream unit at 3.45pm.

The Herald Sun understands the other man had rushed to Mokbel's aid. The incident unfolded just 15 minutes before the jail was to go into lockdown for the day, with prisoners heading back to their cells.

Detectives were inside the jail late into the evening as part of a major inquiry into the attack.

CCTV is expected to play a key role in their investigation.

It is probable they will ­encounter difficulties with gathering prisoner witness accounts because of the jail system's heavily enforced code of silence.

Tony Mokbel being worked on by paramedics at Barwon Prison after being stabbed this afternoon. Picture: Seven News
Tony Mokbel being worked on by paramedics at Barwon Prison after being stabbed this afternoon. Picture: Seven News

Mokbel was stabbed in the upper body with what is believed to have been a shiv, a homemade prison knife.

The motive remained unclear on Monday night.

There was speculation the ­attack could be connected to revelations Mokbel intervened in a standover racket operating at the prison, near Geelong. The Sunday Herald Sun reported that Mokbel - who is eyeing freedom as part of the Lawyer X scandal - disrupted an extortion scheme run by a group of Pacific Island inmates.

Some criminals are believed to have become irritated at ­Mokbel talking of his plans to get out of jail.

"He's been a pest," a source said on Monday night.

It is not known if a weapon or weapons have been recovered.

The attack happened in the prison's Diosma unit, a mainstream section of the jail.

Mokbel had previously been in the notorious Acacia unit, among the most regulated corrections environments in the state.

A security assessment is understood to have been held after news of the attack became known.

Mokbel arrived at the Royal Melbourne Hospital via ambulance helicopter at 5.15pm, 90 minutes after being stabbed.

The air ambulance taking off from Barwon Prison on Monday. Picture: Peter Ristevski
The air ambulance taking off from Barwon Prison on Monday. Picture: Peter Ristevski

 

Tony Mokbel arriving at the Supreme Court in 2011.
Tony Mokbel arriving at the Supreme Court in 2011.

A hospital spokeswoman said Mokbel was in a critical condition.

The mercy flight is believed to have been made with a Corrections Victoria escort.

The other man injured was taken by road ambulance to Geelong Hospital.

Earlier, paramedics and prison officers - among them members of the security and emergency services group - were seen crowded around Mokbel as he lay on a stretcher on grassland at the complex.

Eight paramedics were working on the stricken criminal as he lay between air and road ambulances.

Mokbel was bare-chested and wearing shorts, with paramedics working on wounds to his upper body and stomach.

Staff held a white sheet above Mokbel in an attempt to prevent a TV news helicopter from taking footage.

Barwon is a high-risk, maximum security prison that houses about 400 prisoners 68km southwest of Melbourne CBD.

"All violent incidents in custodial facilities are investigated and there will be a full review of this incident," a state government spokesman said.

"As this is an ongoing police investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mokbel is regarded as being among the most powerful ­organised crime figures in the state, building a $100 million drug syndicate at the height of his outlaw career.

He bolted from Australia in 2006 after learning he was to be charged with one of the killings during Melbourne's gangland war era.

In 2007, he was arrested in Greece, extradited back to Melbourne and has remained behind bars ever since.

Monday was not the first time Mokbel has been involved in jailhouse violence.

In April, 2014, he was accused of breaking the nose of another Barwon inmate, leaving him in hospital.

The matter went no further when the alleged victim ­reflected on the matter and decided to make a statement of no complaint.

Barwon is where Mokbel's former associate, Carl Williams, was bludgeoned to death on April 19, 2010.

Williams, one of the state's most infamous criminals, was attacked with the stem of an exercise bike by fellow inmate Matthew Johnson and died after suffering extensive head injuries.

Tony Mokbel’s Bonnie Doon hideout.
Tony Mokbel’s Bonnie Doon hideout.

THE FALL OF TONY MOKBEL

Mokbel was in 2012 sentenced to a minimum of 22 years' jail and housed in the Diosma unit, a mainstream unit.

He skipped bail in March 2006 during a trial for cocaine importation and initially sought refuge in Bonnie Doon, where he hid for seven months.

While there, he received special deliveries, such as his mother's tabouli, and visits from his then-girlfriend, ­Danielle McGuire.

Despite being on Interpol's top 100 list, and being the subject of a $1 million bounty for information leading to his capture, Mokbel is believed to have continued to run his drug empire from overseas.

His disappearance prompted rumours of gunfights in downtown Lebanon, plastic surgery and priest disguises.

Mobster Tony Mokbel has been stabbed at Barwon Prison.
Mobster Tony Mokbel has been stabbed at Barwon Prison.

The wig Mokbel was wearing when he was arrested is now kept at the police museum, despite his attempts to reclaim it.

The Mokbel confidant at the centre of the scandal over police tactics - a scandal due to be blown open next week - had a strong rapport with both the drug lord and his brothers Horty, Milad, and Kabalan.

Mokbel says he trusted the person deeply.

There are claims the person was able to communicate with him, via an intermediary, while he was on the run.

In a court hearing following Mokbel's flight, police publicly blamed a solicitor not involved in the trial for warning him that murder charges were about to be laid against him.

Mokbel travelled across the Nullarbor, posing as a mute named Wes, before boarding the yacht Edwena - complete with a purpose-built hidey hole and separate toilet for the fugitive - for a voyage to Greece.

He was eventually arrested in an Athens seaside cafe in June 2007.

Congratulating the police officers, he said: "I don't know how you did it, but you've done a brilliant job."

He was extradited back to Melbourne in May 2008.

Detectives said that while in Athens, Mokbel rented a two-storey apartment for $3224 a month, and had just received $400,000 from contacts. Ms McGuire also visited him.

Mokbel was charged with two murders, but was acquitted of one, and the other case was dropped.

The luxury yachy Edwena, which convicted drug trafficker Tony Mokbel used to flee to Greece in  2006.
The luxury yachy Edwena, which convicted drug trafficker Tony Mokbel used to flee to Greece in 2006.

 

LIFE AND CRIMES OF TONY MOKBEL

1965: Born Antonios Sajih 'Tony' Mokbel in Kuwait

1974: Mokbel and his family move to Australia

1986: Convicted of assaults, threats to kill, resisting arrest

1989: Convicted of possessing gun

1992: Convicted of attempting to bribe a County Court judge, jailed

1998: Convicted over drug manufacturing but overturned

2001: Arrested for importing ephedrine

2004: Trial over importation of cocaine and ephedrine charges

Tony Mokbel has been convicted of multiple crimes.
Tony Mokbel has been convicted of multiple crimes.

2005: 14 charges dropped but tried for drug trafficking

2005: Applies for legal aid

2006: Trial for importing cocaine. During trial, he hides in Bonnie Doon. Later escapes to Greece and is convicted of drug smuggling in absentia

JUNE 2007: A bewigged Mokbel arrested in Athens, Greece

2008: Athens Supreme Court grants Australia's request for extradition

2009: Murder charge over the death of Michael Marshall dropped; acquitted of the murder of Lewis Moran

FEBRUARY 2012: Chest pains in the exercise yard at Barwon Prison see Mokbel carted off to hospital in where it's discovered he's had a mild heart attack

 

An ambulance leaves Barwon Prison, where Tony Mokbel was attacked today. Picture: Peter Ristevski
An ambulance leaves Barwon Prison, where Tony Mokbel was attacked today. Picture: Peter Ristevski

 

JULY 2012: Jailed for 30 years and ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges

APRIL 2014: Accused of breaking the nose of a fellow inmate at Barwon Prison. No charges laid

DECEMBER 2018: Herald Sun reveals he hopes to walk free from jail within four years as a result of the Lawyer X scandal

FEBRUARY 10, 2019: Sunday Herald Sun reveals he has become a powerful enforcer and unlikely peacekeeper at Barwon Prison

mark.buttler@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drug lord remains in a serious condition. Picture: Seven News
The drug lord remains in a serious condition. Picture: Seven News
Paramedics frantically worked on Tony Mokbel at the prison. Picture: Nine News
Paramedics frantically worked on Tony Mokbel at the prison. Picture: Nine News
He was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital via air ambulance.
He was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital via air ambulance.
Tony Mokbel arriving at an Athens court in 2008.
Tony Mokbel arriving at an Athens court in 2008.


WATCH: Savage Gympie hail ‘felt like Armageddon’

premium_icon WATCH: Savage Gympie hail ‘felt like Armageddon’

“We thought we were going to die,” a Wolvi resident said as she watched her...

UPDATE: Fraser Island bushfire contained after 23 days

UPDATE: Fraser Island bushfire contained after 23 days

QPWS rangers are currently managing the fire with QFES

Albo’s plan to reconnect with Gympie region farmers

premium_icon Albo’s plan to reconnect with Gympie region farmers

Anthony Albanese visits drought-hit Gympie region macadamia growers and promises a...