Crime & Court

Taxi Driver Tells: Robbed And Assaulted

Three suspects in Police custody.
18 Oct 2021 12:10
Taxi Driver Tells: Robbed And Assaulted
Taxi driver Suraj Nath recovering at home after he was robbed and assaulted by three youths in Pacific Harbour on October 16, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Three youths who are alleged to have robbed, assaulted, and left a taxi driver bleeding on the roadside of Waikalou in Pacific Harbour are in Police custody.

The three were alleged to have taken more than $100 cash, a watch and mobile phone and drove off in the taxi from Waikalou to Mokosoi in Pacific Harbour on Friday.

However, they abandoned the cab after crashing into a roadside post at around 6.30pm and damaging the front tyre.

Mokosoi residents who saw the suspects escaping the scene of the accident alerted the Police and assisted with investigation, resulting in the arrest of the suspects in less than 24-hours.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed receiving the report and said Police Officers from Navua were investigating the case.

One of the suspects is believed to be a 17-year-old.

Taxi driver

Fifty six-year-old Suraj Nath, says he is counting his lucky stars to be alive after suffering over 10 minutes of torture in the hands of three pinch bar wielding youths who robbed, assaulted and left him bleeding, before escaping in his red Toyota Fielder taxi.

Mr Nath said it was around 5.30pm when a youth approached him and asked to pick up two of his friends, who were sitting metres away from his taxi base.

He said one of the youths who wore a cap sat in front with him, while the other two sat at the back seat partially covering their face with a piece of cloth.

“We reached Waikalou settlement by 5.45pm when the one in the front passenger seat asked me to take them to the roundabout, after reaching there, he asked to take them back. I told them to get off as it was almost 6pm and I wanted to go home,” he said.

Mr Nath said he stopped the taxi and asked the youths to get off, but one of the two from the back seat held him from the back and choked his neck while the other two started punching him.

A cane knife was also found at the back of the taxi by Police. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A cane knife was also found at the back of the taxi by Police. Photo: Ronald Kumar

“One of the youths wielding a pinch bar quickly opened the door, pulled me out and asked me to give them the money, they threatened me to keep quiet while they continued to kick and punch me,” Mr Nath alleged.

He said they took $90 from his pocket and coins of around $20 with his watch and mobile phone.

He said he was kicked in the head, chest and legs before he was pushed to the roadside with a piece of cloth stuffed in his mouth.

After regaining consciousness, Mr Nath crawled on the road shaking, bleeding but somehow managed to crawl to the nearest home and asked for help.

Good Samaritans

Waikalou resident, Eseteri Tawake and mother-in-law Luisa Tawake said they were in their flower garden when they saw a man bleeding from his face and hand crawling up their driveway.

Eseteri Tawake with her mother-in-law Luisa Tawake at their Waikalou home on October 17, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Eseteri Tawake with her mother-in-law Luisa Tawake at their Waikalou home
on October 17, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

“We saw him and immediately knew something was wrong, he was shaking, could not stand properly and was trying to stop the bleeding on his face with his shirt,” Mrs Tawake said.

She said they helped Mr Nath, gave him an ice pack and Panadol before calling the Police and his family.

Taxi owner

Taxi owner, Kamal Narayan said, while the incident was rather unfortunate, he was happy that Mr Nath managed to escape death.

Mr Narayan said the taxi was found with pinch bars and a cane knife when recovered.

He commended the Navua Police Officers for apprehending the suspects.

Edited by Losirene Lacanivalu


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