According to a report by 9news on December 25th, a tobacco shop in Melbourne, Australia was targeted in an arson attack. At least two arsonists rammed a car into the storefront’s roller shutter door, poured accelerant inside, and set it on fire. The neighboring office at a nearby intersection was also severely damaged.
Local residents expressed disappointment over the incident, as this place is considered “a community”.
During the investigation of the burned remains of a shop, detectives have uncovered an illegal stash of cigarettes known as “chop chop.” Investigators are currently examining whether this arson case is linked to a series of arson incidents related to the control of illicit tobacco trade by two Middle Eastern criminal syndicates.
It is believed that the key participant in question is Kazem Hamad, who stands accused of being an underground crime boss. He was deported earlier this year and is now facing allegations of orchestrating the events in Dubai.
Since March, more than 30 shops and associated properties have been burned down due to the ongoing conflict. However, as these attacks escalated, Victoria state police have intensified their efforts, arresting over a dozen suspected criminals and seizing smuggled goods worth millions of dollars.