– following attack on teacher and husband
Police have set up round the clock patrols to protect travelers heading to and from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
This follows last Saturday’s daring abduction of private school teacher Latchmin Gopaul and her husband, while they were heading to the airport for a vacation.
‘A’ Division Commander and Senior Superintendent of Police Clifton Hicken told Kaieteur News that night patrols were already in place to protect persons heading to or leaving the airport.
However, Commander Hicken has now set up 24-hour patrols after Saturday’s attack on the Gopauls.
Mrs. Gopaul, her husband, Lekraj Gopaul and taxi driver Parmanand Teekaram were held at gunpoint near Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara at around 11.00 hrs by two men who were wearing police uniforms.
The ‘policemen’, who claimed to be investigating a hit-and-run accident, took the trio to Yarrowkabra, off the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
The victims were bound and relieved of millions in local and foreign currency, jewellery and other valuables.
Responding to reports that the robbers were dressed like policemen, Commander Hicken said that he immediately made internal checks within his division.
The Commander said that the investigations cleared all of his ranks, and investigators are still unsure whether the robbers were actually wearing police attire.
Police are still to fully question the Gopauls, who travelled overseas after their ordeal. However, the taxi driver who was taking them to the airport was taken into custody but has since been released.
Commander Hicken revealed that as part of their investigation, police seized two police uniforms and also arrested a man after raiding two South Ruimveldt houses.
Taxi driver Parmanand Teekaram had told Kaieteur News that he was taking the Gopauls to the airport at around 11.00 hrs on Saturday when two men in police uniforms stopped him at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara.
He said that one of the men was dressed in blue police attire and was carrying a handgun, while his companion was dressed like a ‘black clothes’ rank and had a ‘long gun’.
According to Teekaram, the ‘policemen’ said they were investigating a hit-and-run accident at Garden of Eden and requested that he show them his driver’s licence and other documents.
According to Teekaram, the two ‘policemen’ then entered his car and took them to a secluded spot near the abandoned glass factory at Yarrowkabra, off the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
The ‘ranks’ then tied them up and took their valuables.
Kaieteur News understands that Mr. Gopaul was relieved of US $14,000; 400 pounds Sterling; a watch valued at $180,000; a gold chain valued at $180,000; a $71,000 watch; a camera worth US 1,200; a ring valued at $70,000 and his spectacles.
His wife, Latchmin Gopaul, who runs the Academy of Excellence Private School at Cornelia Ida, West Coast Demerara, was relieved of US $4,000; 500 pounds Sterling; $400 Can.; a $500,000 gold band and a diamond-encrusted ring worth $300,000.
The bandits also relieved the driver, Parmanand Teekaram, of Cornelia Ida, West Coast Demerara, of $60,000 and a cell phone before reportedly escaping in a car.
However, Kaieteur News understands that the Gopauls were allowed to keep their travel documents. Teekaram said that he saw a blue car in the area and it is believed that the robbers fled in that vehicle.
The victims were eventually rescued by the occupants of a passing vehicle.
There has been an apparent upsurge in persons being robbed while heading to the Cheddi Jagan Airport or returning from overseas.
Just last Wednesday, Pastor Sewnauth Poonalall of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church was gun-butted and robbed shortly after returning from the airport with overseas guests.
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