Armed robbers planning heists in Vietnam: Police
A group of alleged robbers recently detained by the police for committing at least 15 armed robberies in Greater Jakarta in the past six months had initially planned to expand their operation abroad.
According to the head of violent crimes unit at the Jakarta Police’s General Crimes Directorate, Adj. Sr. Comr. Helmy Santika, the group, which targeted bank customers carrying large amounts of cash, planned to commit their crimes in Vietnam.
“The Vietnamese are known for carrying lots of cash. Therefore, the robbers were interested in robbing them,” Helmy said on Sunday, adding that the group also planned to carry out one last heist in Jakarta before going to Vietnam.
“Luckily, we arrested them before they could commit their planned crimes,” he said.
The Jakarta Police also revealed that they had arrested an employee of state-owned weapons manufacturer, PT Pindad, for allegedly providing weapons to a group of robbers suspected of carrying out several heists in the capital.
The man, identified only as AT, was one of the five alleged robbers nabbed during a series of raids in Denpasar, Jakarta, Palembang and Pekanbaru last week. The other four suspects are identified as AT, DN, HR and YD.
Another suspect, identified as RIZ, was shot dead after resisting arrest at his residence in Mediterania Apartment in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.
Police said the group was responsible for at least 15 armed robberies in Greater Jakarta since the beginning of this year, including three recent armed robberies of three men, including one Indian national.
“AT provided the robbers with firearms. However, I can ensure that the weapons are not manufactured by PT Pindad,” Jakarta Police detective chief Sr. Comr. Toni Hermanto said.
According to Toni, AT, who has worked for 23 years at a warehouse at PT Pindad, acquires the weapons from a civilian, known by the initial A, who is still at large. The official said the weapons were not homemade. AT sold the weapons to RIZ for Rp 11 million (US$1,166), he said.
Investigators are still studying how both A and AT procured the weapons. It is not yet known whether they acquired them from foreign suppliers or from the local black market.
The arrest of AT came as the police were under spotlight for failing to curb the number of armed robberies in Greater Jakarta. The frequent use of firearms in many crimes in the capital and its surroundings had prompted unprecedented security concerns. A recent police investigation revealed that some of firearms used in the robberies were similar to those confiscated in a raid on illegal gunsmiths in Cipacing, West Java, earlier this month.
The police recently shot dead two alleged gunsmiths from Cipacing who might have distributed guns to several groups of robbers who targeted 24-hour minimarkets.
But the police hinted that the weapons — a revolver — provided by AT was not from Cipacing.
The robbers who used the weapons he sold also did not target minimarkets. On June 12, police said the group took Rp 98 million (US$10,388) from Ahmed Abad Gujarat, an Indian national, after he had withdrawn the money from a branch of Bank BCA in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta.