Alleged Apex teen denied bail: court

A teenage engineering student allegedly linked to Melbourne’s notorious Apex gang is behind bars over a suspected robbery spree.

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Police say Kual Ashweel, 18, was one of four youths who allegedly drove around in a stolen car at night, demanding phones and cash from people who were sometimes attacked with a baton.

The alleged crimes – five within two hours on April 10 – took place in Southbank and Richmond.

The group allegedly asked one victim for help, before telling him: “Brother, stop. Give me your phone and money otherwise I’ll kill you.”

The man was allegedly chased back to his car, hit with a baton and grabbed by the throat before handing over his phone, wallet and banking passwords, court documents show.

Ashweel applied for bail in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday after being charged with 63 offences, including armed robbery, affray and assault.

The court heard Ashweel denied he was a member of Apex, but Senior Constable Anthony Gaffney said two co-accused were associated with the gang and he was concerned about the link.

Defence lawyer Rob Melasecca said there was no allegation Ashweel was involved in violence during the suspected spree, and he was only accused of driving.

But Magistrate Franz Holzer denied bail, saying the charges were serious and the alleged victims had been subjected to “frightening and significant consequences”.

Apex, which has more than 100 members including some as young as 12, are thought to be behind a spate of home burglaries and car thefts.

The gang is also blamed for riots in Melbourne’s CBD during the Moomba festivities last month.

Ashweel is due back in court in July.