NEWS

Robberies Haunt Businesses

The victims have said the spate of alleged robberies and break-ins have been daring, life-threatening and had forced them to live like prisoners in their own homes and properties.
17 Mar 2022 11:49
Robberies Haunt Businesses
Deo Narayan of Sailex Shipping and Freight Limited, on March 16, 2022, shows the damage to their office following an alleged robbery at Ratu Dovi Road in Nasinu. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Residents and business operators at Ratu Dovi Road, Nasinu, are living in fear following several alleged break-ins and robberies in the past few months.

Those who fell victim to the series of alleged attacks felt they were still not safe despite adding security measures to safeguard their investment.

The victims have said the spate of alleged robberies and break-ins have been daring, life-threatening and had forced them to live like prisoners in their own homes and properties.

Raj Pharmacy

The director of Raj Pharmacy, Raj Kumar, recalled a daring daylight robbery at the pharmacy on March 10 at around 3pm, when three masked people entered the pharmacy and threatened him with a knife.

“When they entered, they told us to keep it down,” he said.

“Three people were wearing caps, one of them had wrapped socks around his face as a mask, and one of them was wearing a black mask.

“They entered the shop as normal customers but when they saw ladies alone while I was at the other side taking blood pressure of a customer, they acted. A customer was also there at that time, whom they had threatened also.

“They were armed with a knife, screwdriver, and a pinch bar. When they saw the situation was okay, they ran towards the till and one of them stood near the door.

“They took about $5200 in total and a mobile phone.”

Mr Kumar said he chased after the thieves, but they retaliated by hurling stones at him. Since the incident, the pharmacy now hires a security guard.

 

Sailex Shipping and Freight

Another business operator who was a victim of a break-in on the night of February 4, said they have grown vigilant after the alleged incident.

The clerk of Sailex Shipping and Freight Limited, Sanjila Narayan, said: “We have spent more than $2000 so far to secure our office after the robbery.

“We have placed security cameras and sirens to secure the place. Now we have to lock ourselves inside the office.

“Our business is impacted because we have to lock our gates and doors. Many customers come here, and they think our company is closed.”

She said they were also hurt emotionally and spiritually because the suspects also damaged their religious place.

 

Root High Rice Kava Shop

Another business owner, who experienced three attempted break-ins, said she felt like she was living in a prison.

Radhika Prasad, the owner of Root High Rice Kava Shop in Lotus Lane, Ratu Dovi Road, claims she had witnessed many incidents of alleged break-ins.

Ms Prasad said the recent daylight robbery in her area scared her most and now she had to lock herself inside.

“I have to lock myself inside and sometimes the customers turn away because they think the shop is closed. Unless there is a regular customer, I do not open the gate,” she said.

“Despite spending about $30,000 to build a secure shop, I am living in a prison.”

Ms Prasad is calling on the Police to patrol their area more.

 

Poor Police response

The victims also claimed that Police have done little about the investigation despite giving them leads as to who the suspects were.

Mr Kumar of Raj Pharmacy claimed he had identified two of the suspects and informed the Police.

“If the Police had arrived in 30 minutes, the thieves could have been caught,” he said.

He also claimed the Police arrived after one and a half hours.

Sailex Shipping supervisor Deo Narayan said: “We had identified one of the thieves and informed the Police, but they said they cannot do anything because they were masked.

“I live with my wife, three daughters and my elderly father and I am concerned about their safety too. The best option is to just arrest them.”

 

Commissioner Qiliho

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho says he will discuss the matter with the officers concerning the incidents.

“We will get in touch with the Divisional Police Commander who is in charge of that area and demand answers from him on the delayed response, if that was the case,” Mr Qiliho said.

“Also, we will send the Director Community Policing and the operations people to see what is wrong there. If our officers did not do what they were supposed to do, we will take them to task.”

Mr Qiliho is also encouraging people to come forward with complaints against Police and report it to the Internal Affairs.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the investigative officers were following some positive leads concerning the suspects.

Feedback:  sheenal.charan@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

 



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