Crime & Courts

Cops shoot dead armed robbers after high-speed chase [NSTTV]

KUANTAN: Over the past 10 months, three men have been breaking into jewelry shops in several states before making off with gold items worth millions of ringgit.

The trio - a Bangladeshi and two Vietnamese nationals - were planning a seventh robbery in Pekan yesterday when their crime spree came to an end after they were shot dead during a shootout with the police around midnight yesterday.

The drama unfolded about 11.30pm, when Pahang Criminal Investigation Department officers along with their counterparts from Selangor during a joint-operation noticed a suspicious-looking Proton Waja at a housing area near Jalan Pekan-Kuantan.

Pahang police chief Datuk Seri Yahaya Othman said when policemen approached the car to inspect the vehicle, the driver sped off towards Jalan Pekan-Kuantan bypass.

"A high speed chase ensued along the dual-carriageway before the suspects rammed their Waja into the rear of the police patrol car and their car came to a halt. When policemen stepped out to inspect the vehicle, the suspect fired several shots at our officers.

"Police had to return fire in self-defence and killed three men who were inside the vehicle. Police found a Glock-17 pistol, six bullets in a magazine and recovered three bullet casings at the scene," he told reporters during a press conference at the state police contingent here today.

Yahaya said investigations revealed the suspects aged between 35 and 44 years old had valid travel documents, and the Bangladeshi national, who owned the Waja, had a Malaysian driving licence.

He said checks revealed the suspects specialising in breaking into safe boxes at goldsmith premises were involved in a spree of robberies in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Pahang.

"They have been active since June last year targeting jewellery stores. They will break and enter the premises during long weekends and public holidays when the businesses are usually closed.

"We found two grinder machines, two drills, two parangs, a box containing cordless drill, a crowbar, hammer, screwdrivers, gloves and a tool bag. Police recovered two sets of false vehicle registration plates," he said.

Meanwhile, Yahaya said checks revealed the Vietnamese nationals have been travelling in and out of the country on tourist visas, and believed the trio were part of a bigger syndicate.

"The Bangladeshi is believed to have been staying in Malaysia for quite some time as he has a driving licence and purchased the car in his name. We are tracking down the other syndicate members.

"Police are investigating how the suspects disposed of the stolen gold as they have broken into six premises with losses totalling more than RM4 million. The last robbery was reported in Indera Mahkota here with losses estimated around RM500,000," he said, adding the case was being investigated under section 307 of the Penal Code for attempted murder.

Yahaya said the suspects were believed to be travelling to rob a premises in Pekan yesterday when police foiled their attempt.

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