Police nab alleged gang robbers

National 2 minutes, 15 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SEVEN Indonesian men were brought to the Magistrates' Court yesterday and jointly charged for committing gang robbery armed with a deadly weapon in a house in Kg Sg Teraban, Kuala Belait, last Wednesday.

The defendants Jalani, Sandi, Mazlan, Hidayat, Lalu Nikmanul Hakim, Malik Gerhana @ Usop and Amrullah appeared before Senior Magistrate Lailatul Zubaidah and deputy public prosecutor Joe Chan.

According to the court document, the gang robbery was committed between 12.30am and 1.30am on April 20 in a house in Kg Sg Teraban, whereby the defendants had armed themselves with a machete and robbed Kho Gee Chiong and the occupants of the complainant's house.

During the proceedings, no pleas were recorded and the deputy public prosecutor indicated that the police needed to conduct further investigations into the case, such as forensic analysis, fingerprints at the house and an identification parade among others.

The defendants, in their mid-20s and 30s, are currently in police custody for two weeks after the court granted the deputy public prosecutor's application on grounds that the complainant in the case got hurt from the robbery.

"This was a serious offence that was committed," said deputy public prosecutor.

The Unit Task Force, Crime Investigation Department cooperated with the Royal Malaysian Police Force (Sarawak contingent) successfully tracked and apprehended the seven suspects less than 48 hours after the incident, the police said in a statement.

The arrest was made at the border of Sarawak-Kalimantan as it was believed that the suspects attempted to escape to Entikong, Kalimantan in Indonesia in a Daihatsu Xenia van.

The police also believed that the men had entered and exited Brunei through a mouse-trail.

The men, according to the police, came from the syndicate known as "Group Usop" originating from Lombok Timur, Indonesia. Three out of the seven arrested have been identified to be involved in a series of robberies last year whereby a total of six robbery cases were reported in 2010 and one case in 2011.

Some of the men were found to have several identities when their fingerprints were taken as they were also involved in other criminal activity in Sarawak and Semananjung, Malaysia.

Several of the stolen items which were converted to evidence were recovered and have been identified by the victim.

The defendants face up to 30 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane under section 305 of the Penal Code for gang robbery. They can also be liable under section 398 of the Penal Code, and may be meted seven years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane for robbery or gang robbery when armed with deadly weapon.

The case will be heard again on May 9 at the Magistrates' Court.

The Brunei Times