Chinese national robbed of R1,3?mln in daring daylight heist

2014-10-23 00:00

A CHINESE national was robbed of R1,3 million in a daylight heist at Amanzimtoti’s Galleria Mall yesterday.

Shoppers and security guards scattered as a gang of armed men surrounded the businessman, and relieved him of a bag containing bundles of cash.

The gang then made a dramatic exit, bursting through a boom gate with their weapons trained on helpless parking attendants who ran for cover.

A police source close to the investigation, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, said that police were hunting for the suspects.

“We believe that a Chinese man and his girlfriend had been entering the shopping centre when they were accosted by several men who produced firearms,” he said.

“At gunpoint they coerced the man to hand over his money, which he had brought with him to Galleria to bank,” the source added.

In the course of their getaway, suspects climbed into the couple’s BMW which then sped out of the parking lot.

“The suspects were wearing balaclavas and CCTV cameras at the mall captured the robbery and the escape. The footage will be vital in gathering intelligence on who was responsible for this.”

The source added that they would be investigating people linked to the couple, who may have tipped robbers off that a large amount of money was to be banked.

Last month a man was robbed of R300 000 in cash at the Pavilion while walking towards the banking area. He was accosted by gunmen who flanked him, and forced him to hand over the money before they fled.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane confirmed that the incident had taken place and that police had already begun their investigation.

He would not be drawn to comment on the probe’s progress, saying only that “detectives are dealing with it”.

Zwane warned people to avoid carrying large sums of money without adequate security, as they became soft targets for robbers.

Galleria spokesperson Anusha Timul confirmed that CCTV footage was being examined.

She denied that the robbery cast doubt over the centre’s security system.

“It took place in the parking lot in the presence of security guards who were also threatened by the gun-wielding thieves,” Timul said.

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