Police Investigating $2.3 Million Robbery At PNG Bank

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Private security guard reportedly involved in heist

By Benny Geteng

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 8, 2013) – Papua New Guinea police are investigating a K6.3 million [US$2.3 million] robbery in Port Moresby in which an officer of a security company escorting the money to a bank held up his colleagues.

Assistant Police Commissioner Jim Andrews said the vehicle was escorting the money last Friday morning from the G4S security company base in Konedobu to the Bank of Papua New Guinea. The money belonged to MayBank.

Andrews said the heist happened so fast that when the security company and police were notified and arrived on the scene, the suspects had been long gone.

Andrews said last Thursday, the security company transported the money in seven boxes from MayBank to its base at Konedobu to be kept in the vault there.

The seven boxes had K5.8 million [US$2.1 million] while the other two boxes containing K1.5 million [US$552,120] were in the vault.

On Friday morning, the security company took the nine boxes out of the vault. With an escort vehicle, the armoured car travelled towards Downtown.

At the Steamships headquarters on the road going up to the Crowne Plaza, a security guard travelling in the armoured vehicle took out a pistol and held up the other three guards he was travelling with. He ordered them to proceed left instead of turning right down towards the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

The security guard unarmed another guard holding a shotgun in the vehicle. He then directed them to turn left towards the old House of Assembly building.

It was then that two other vehicles – a 15-seater bus and a five-door Landcruiser – arrived on the scene. From there, the vehicles instead of turning right towards the Bank of Papua New Guinea where the money was to be dropped off, turned left towards the old House of Assembly.

The other two security guards in the vehicle were locked up inside and the key taken from the driver of the armoured vehicle. The locks to the boxes containing the money were opened and the robbers left in the other vehicles.

The driver of the armoured escort vehicle and his colleague were later rescued by security reinforcements who had been alerted.

Andrews said police had made some progress in their investigation.

"Three suspects have been arrested so far. A group of detectives is investigating the case," he said, adding that more arrests should be made soon.

"Police have now conducted fingerprint tests and a forensics team has done further tests on the armoured vehicle that was recovered."

He warned commercial banks and business houses to be careful when hiring the services of security companies.

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