Moneychanger robbery: Suspect leads officers to crime scene

Moneychanger robbery: Suspect leads officers to crime scene

One of the men accused of robbing a money changer two weeks ago in Aljunied Crescent was taken back to the crime scene yesterday.

Annadurai Raman, 44, led investigators to locations where the crime was said to have happened.

Dressed in a red polo shirt, blue bermudas and slippers, the Singapore permanent resident was restrained at the wrists, waist and ankles, and flanked by two plainclothes police officers.

One of the places he was taken to was the public carpark next to Geylang East Public Library.

Spending about two minutes there, Annadurai kept his head down and could be heard telling officers details of what happened. Annadurai was charged on Nov 8 with the armed robbery of moneychanger Ali Yousouf Saiboo.

At about 12.50am on Nov 5, Annadurai and several accomplices allegedly robbed Mr Ali, 35, in the carpark of Block 110 Aljunied Crescent.

They were said to have made off with nearly $620,000 in various currencies. The group was allegedly armed with a crowbar and reportedly hurt Mr Ali by kicking him in the abdomen.

CARPARK LOOKOUT

The New Paper understands that the one of his accomplices had kept watch at the carpark next to the Geylang East Public Library.

This carpark is connected to another carpark, where the alleged armed robbery took place.

Two other men - Malaysians Tachana Moorthy Peromal, 28, and Ravi Sandhira Sagaran, 27 - have also been charged over the Nov 5 incident.

Meanwhile, the Money Changers Association Singapore yesterday called on its members to hire armed guards when transporting large sums of money.

The 16-member management committee met last evening to discuss the spate of robberies here, which its secretary, Mr Mohamed Rafeeq, said has left some of its 150-members worried.

On Saturday, an Indonesian man was charged with stabbing a fellow Indonesian at Raffles Place during lunchtime.

Arun, who goes by a single name, allegedly robbed Mr Kang Tie Tie of his sling bag at about 1pm outside Raffles Place MRT station.

The bag contained $158,380 worth of Singapore currency, the equivalent of $20,030 in Brunei money, and three cash cheques for a total of $607,368, among other things.

ASSOCIATION LOOKING TO IMPROVE SECURITY

The Money Changers Association Singapore is looking at security education programmes for its members, said the association's compliance officer Gani M.J.

This was decided after the management committee met last night.

Mr Gani told The New Paper after the meeting, that while the recent robbery cases involved individuals from other countries, it was still important to ensure that its 150 members could conduct their businesses safely.

"Every (moneychanger) has his own safety protocol, and we make sure not too many people know about it.

"We're waiting for the police to inform us how some groups can find out this classified information," Mr Gani said.

HIGH COST

The association had earlier called on members to hire security, but also noted that many were unwilling to do so because of the high cost.

Association secretary Mohamed Rafeeq said armed escorts can cost at least $150 an hour, and many businesses which are family-run may not be willing to spend that sort of money.

Money changers can make several runs a day, be it from their shops to cash wholesalers (which are larger money changers), or from their shops to the banks.

He added that the association is now looking at consolidating members who want security services.

They may then try to negotiate with security companies for a better deal.

Mr Rafeeq revealed that his father, who used to be a money changer, previously hid cash in specially-sewn pockets in his undershirt. He would then wear a vest over his clothes, which made it look like he was going fishing.

"But what I do, I can't reveal too much. If not, people will know the tricks of our trade," he said.

lawsm@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Nov 19, 2014.
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