Possible personal vendetta
A man who is in prison for allegedly throwing a petrol bomb at a Crown Melbourne restaurant had been recently kicked out of the adjoining casino for sexually harassing staff. Hussein Kassem remains behind bars after the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court denied him bail for the arson attack. He shouted and ranted during the hearing and is remanded until January 18.
major damage to the Bistro Guillaume’s outdoor dining area
The arson incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning, causing major damage to the Bistro Guillaume’s outdoor dining area. Police believe that the motive behind the attack was a personal vendetta against Crown. The authorities are calling on witnesses to come forward with any information.
The incident took place at around 1am, with the 39-year-old allegedly removing his shirt, covering it in bourbon, putting it into a whiskey bottle, and setting it on fire before throwing it at the restaurant. If the fire was not extinguished when it was, police say, the inside of the restaurant would have caught fire after another two minutes. The defendant reportedly watched firefighters put out the blaze before his arrest.
There was also a small fire lit in the reception toilets of the nearby Crown Hotels property approximately half an hour before the petrol bomb attack; police believe that Kassem was also responsible for those. He allegedly told someone in the bathroom to leave before setting some toilet paper on fire, causing the sprinklers to activate and flood the room. There were no injuries following either incident.
Facing prison time
Police arrested Kassem not long after the arson attack. His charges are multiple counts of arson and reckless conduct endangering persons. During the bail hearing on Wednesday, the court heard that the defendant had been removed from the Crown Melbourne casino last week for allegedly exposing staff to inappropriate sexual behavior.
The largest casino resort in the Southern Hemisphere, Crown Melbourne spans two city blocks, consisting of three different hotels. The casino has been in the news for the wrong reasons recently, with investigations into its operations revealing extensive money laundering failures.