Gang ‘used toy gun and tear gas to steal Dh700,000 from exchange shop’

Five men from Kyrgyzstan accused of terrorising customers and staff at Dubai money exchange before stealing vast sum of money.

DUBAI // Five men accused of robbing a money exchange shop after threatening its staff and customers with a toy gun and a taser denied charges against them in court on Sunday.

Prosecutors at Dubai Criminal Court said the men, from Kyrgyzstan, also had tear gas on December 13 last year when they drove a BMW with a fake number plate to Al Razouki Exchange in Al Karama.

At about 3.30pm, they allegedly barged in wearing masks then used the taser gun and tear gas on employees and customers.

One man carried a backpack and collected all the money available before they fled the scene. Shortly afterwards, their car was set on fire, prosecutors said.

Police were called and camera footage, testimonies of victims and evidence found in the car helped track down four of the gang members.

“I was busy with a money transfer for a client when the masked men barged in and sprayed all of us with tear gas and used the taser gun on some of our clients,” said a 41-year-old Indian accountant at the exchange shop.

He said one of the accused was carrying a toy gun and threatened him with it.

“They came in and one of them was screaming. It happened so fast that one sprayed my eyes with something burning then stunned me – I couldn’t open my eyes but I heard screams,” said a 26-year-old Indian client.

Police said the men stole more than Dh700,000 and transferred some of the stolen money to their home country.

“Four arrests were made shortly after the report was made and two suspects confessed willingly and said they bought the used car for Dh12,000,” said an Emirati police captain, 33.

He said one of the accused stole a car number plate put it on the BMW.

“When we made the arrests in Sharjah, some of them resisted CID officers fiercely and assaulted three of them,” said the captain, adding that one man remained at large.

In court yesterday, the men denied armed robbery and claimed it was the fifth defendant who is still at large who planned the whole thing, and that he forced them to take part after threatening them and their families.

The men also denied setting fire to the car, assaulting employees and clients, resisting arrest and assaulting police.

One denied stealing a car number plate and fixing it on the car used in the crime, while two others confessed to returning to the UAE after previously being deported.

The next hearing is on October 19.

salamir@thenational.ae

Published: September 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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