August 27, 2008

Robbers Grab Bag of Cakes, Miss RM1.9m

By Phuah Ken Lin

GEORGE TOWN: After firing 10 shots and injuring the victim in a brazen attack, two gunmen fled with a bag containing only clothing and mooncakes.

They missed their target of RM1.9 million which was in another bag, beside the one they took.

The botched robbery occurred outside the departure hall of Bayan Lepas airport about 9.30am yesterday in which the victim, a 51-year- old moneychanger, suffered three gunshot wounds.

Police media relations officer Superintendent Shahron Anuar Abdul Latif said the victim was shot twice in his legs while another shot grazed his right ear.

Shahron said two gunmen waited in ambush for the victim who was on his way to Singapore. The victim arrived at the airport with the cash inside a security van.

"He was unloading his luggage from the van to a trolley when the robbers, in ski-masks, struck.

"They fired at least 10 shots at the victim before grabbing his luggage and fled the scene in a black Toyota Harrier," said Shahron, adding that there were four people inside the vehicle. The security guards in the van were caught by surprise and had no time to react.

The victim was rushed to the Penang Hospital where his condition was listed as stable.

One of the shots hit the automatic glass door at the departure hall, causing it to shatter. Police forensic personnel found 10 bullet shells at the scene.

The robbers' getaway vehicle was later found abandoned in a secluded area about two kilometres from the airport

Shahron said initial investigations revealed that the Toyota Harrier was a stolen vehicle. No arrests have been made but a state- wide hunt is on for the robbers who have been described as armed and dangerous.

This is the second such incident to have occurred outside an international airport in the past four months.

In April, two moneychangers were robbed in similar fashion outside the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Four gunmen opened fire on the moneychangers and their bodyguard before escaping with almost RM3.5 million. The shoot-out, which lasted for about five minutes, left five injured.

As in the latest case, the victims were shot in the legs and the robbers' getaway vehicle was found abandoned not far from the airport.

Several days after the robbery police conducted simultaneous raids at several locations in Johor and arrested four suspects.

Police also seized five automatic pistols. It is learnt that the four suspects had been detained under preventive laws.

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