Police recover scooter used in bank heist

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The China Post news staff

Taipei police have come under mounting pressure to track down the armed robber who escaped with NT$12.5 million in cash and is suspected to be responsible for repeated heists targeting financial institutions in downtown Taipei. Except for impounding a scooter used by the masked robber, police are still unable to trace the perpetrator who shot a security guard in the hip and leg at a Taiwan Business Bank branch on Section 3 of Nanjing East Road, which is located just 50 meters from the Songshan branch Taipei police station. Huang Ming-chao, chief of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Taipei Police Department, said yesterday that the scooter abandoned by the robber near Liaoning Street was earlier stolen by the suspect. The bullets and shells left at the bank are also under examination by forensics experts, they said.

After analyzing the information gathered by the surveillance cameras, police found that the robber, with a height of around 170 centimeters and a medium-sized build, arrived at an adjacent building near the back of the bank at around 4:26 p.m. Monday afternoon. The suspect even went to the roof of the building to observe and calculate the estimated arrival of the armored cash delivery van. After the van was parked in the parking lot behind the bank branch, the back door was opened for the two security guards with three bags of cash.

Scooter and Plate The robber followed the two into the bank and fired three shots at guard Lo Jing-shun who was forced to drop the three bags of cash totaling NT$12.5 million.

The robber did not utter a single word before running out through the back door to escape on the parked scooter. The scooter was stolen by the robber from Linsen North Road on March 19 and then affixed it with a separate license plate stolen from a separate scooter parked on Fuxing North Road on March 23.

Lo is still recovering in the hospital from the injuries that do not appear to be life threatening. Police have already questioned both Lo and his partner Chen Chun-hau, who at one point in time lowered his body when the robber pointed his gun at him during the heist.

Security Breaches Some police officers pointed out that there were security breaches as the two guards failed to abide by the standard operating procedures that require attaching global positioning system (GPS) devices to the three cash bags. Lo, who carried the three cash bags over his shoulders did not comply with the rule of locking the bags to his arms during delivery. Security analysts said the negligence of the guards made it much easier for the robber to take the risk and make away with the money. The same bank branch was hit seven years ago by a lone robber with a mask and rainwear who made away with NT$11.57 million in cash. The police vowed at that time to track down and apprehend in the suspect in two weeks’ time. The perpetrator is still at large. Police officers did not set a target date this time. But they said the latest event could have been committed by the same robber responsible for at least previous heist.