Man Arrested Over Crown Casino Melbourne Bomb Scare

Posted on: March 1, 2018, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: March 1, 2018, 02:32h.

A Malaysian man whose suspicious behaviour caused a mass evacuation of Australia’s largest casino complex was not a terrorist but a drunk, according to authorities.

Crown Casino Melbourne bomb scare
The Crown Casino Melbourne went into lockdown on Wednesday but the suspected terrorist turned out to be a drunk and his “bomb” was later revealed to be a packet of tobacco. (Image: The Australian)

Swarms of armed police surrounded the Crown Casino, Melbourne at around 3:30pm local time following reports that Nadim Ismael, 55, who was carrying a backpack, had been seen acting suspiciously.

On Thursday, Ismael appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with making threats to kill, making false reports to police and making false statements.

The court heard that Crown staff had approached the man, who is of Pakistani origin and speaks no English, to ask him not to leave his bad unattended, at which point he became agitated and aggressive. Staff were alarmed by what they thought was a “green plasticine substance” in his bag.

Threat to Kill

When confronted by security, including a Hindi speaking guard, Ismael allegedly told the guard he was “a Pakistani terrorist,” causing widespread panic and sending the casino into lockdown.

Ismael was isolated inside the bar and arrested at 5pm. The mysterious green “substance” was later revealed to be a packet of tobacco.

He later told police he would return to “kill the manager who kicked him out.”

The court heard Ismael had arrived in Australia last month on a student seeking work but had found none. He was living on the streets, had little money and was an alcoholic. However, he was not a threat, said magistrate Simon Zebrowski.

Security Nightmare

“He’s not a terrorist, he’s a bloke who has had a few drinks,” he said. “He’s a bloke from another country, who can’t speak English … [who has] made inflammatory and stupid comments.”

Ismail’s visa has been cancelled and he will be held in a secure immigration facility until his next court appearance later this month.

The incident highlights the nervousness within the casino industry following the Las Vegas massacre in October and the arson attack at Resorts World Manila at the beginning of June. In both cases, attackers were able to enter large-scale casino resorts unhindered while carrying deadly weapons.

The necessary welcoming open-door policy of integrated resorts make them a security nightmare for operators and sitting ducks for those with evil intentions.

Fortunately, though, this was nothing more sinister than “a bloke who carries on like a pork chop when he’s drunk,” said the magistrate.