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Vic: Police arrest Chopper Read

By Greg Roberts
15 Dec 2008 5:55 PM

MELBOURNE, Dec 15 AAP - Notorious criminal turned author Mark "Chopper" Read was arrested and then released on Monday after being allegedly attacked by a man with a tomahawk in a Melbourne street.

The 54-year-old confessed murderer became involved in a fight in inner-suburban Collingwood when he was approached by another 54-year-old man.

It is believed the man pulled out a tomahawk and a fight broke out about 11am (AEDT) on Monday.

"He said `Chopper Read, you're not in H Division now', and started swinging a tomahawk at me," Read told reporters outside the Richmond police station.

"He turned the blade away from himself and used the thick end of the tomahawk to hit me across the arm."

Read said the man might have been an ex-inmate with whom he served time, calling his attack "unsavoury behaviour on the part of ex-prisoners who try to lay claim that I bashed them once in H Division".

"I've never seen him before in my life," Read said.

After being confronted by the man, Read said he ran into Complete Collision panelbeaters nearby and grabbed a pipe.

"I said `come here now', he jumped into a car and pissed off," Read said.

"There was a report of a man wielding a tomahawk and a man wielding a pipe."

Read accused the man of "accosting him" and trying to "take my life" and the incident as "unsavoury behaviour".

Armed police wearing bulletproof vests arrived at the scene shortly after 11am and went into the AA Cash Today pawnbroking business where the brawling pair ended up.

The pair, who both live in Collingwood, were arrested, questioned and released without charge but police say inquiries are continuing.

Read claimed to reporters afterwards that he had never seen the man who attacked him before and was trying to visit a mate called Frank at the pawn shop.

An employee from Complete Collision, Tony, was unaware Read had grabbed a pipe but said they soon knew there was trouble when the police arrived.

"There was a dozen police cars there, I had seen Chopper earlier in the morning walking around," he told AAP.

"We see him walking around every week, a couple of times a week."

It's believed both men suffered minor injuries.

Read has spent time in jail for assault, armed robbery and kidnapping and is linked to murders, and has also been the subject of a film and written numerous best-selling books on his life as a criminal.

He was arrested in August this year over an alleged aggravated burglary but was released without charge.