Army officer terrorised; Canadians beaten, robbed By Samantha Alleyne
Stabroek News
April 3, 2002

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Bandits went on a rampage on Sunday night, hijacking three cars and robbing their occupants, including Colonel Christine King of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and two Canadian citizens.

Commissioner of Police (ag) Floyd McDonald said at a press conference yesterday that based on initial reports, the three hijackings and robberies may have been committed by the five prisoners who escaped from the Camp Street prison on February 23. They have been linked to a spate of crimes over the last six weeks.

According to reports, the hijacking spree began in Queenstown and then the bandits moved to Buxton, East Coast Demerara, where they seized another car. They then travelled to Meadow Brook Gardens in the city, comandeered another car and concluded their night's activity on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway where the last hijacked car was found.

The first car to be hijacked on Sunday night was that of King in Queenstown.

Relating her experience, King told Stabroek News that she had gone to visit her aunt in Anira Street, Queenstown when she was attacked by the heavily armed bandits.

The GDF officer said that she left her aunt's house at about 9:15 pm and was accompanied to the gate by a cousin of hers. She said that her cousin was standing at the gate inside the yard and she was in the car about to put her key in the ignition when they noticed a white car approaching them slowly. Assuming that relatives were on their way home, King said she and the cousin watched the car keenly and waited for it to turn into the driveway.

It appeared as if the car was going to pass the yard, but when it was directly in line with her car it stopped abruptly, she said. "Four armed men dressed like they were from the police target squad got out of the car." King said she assumed that the men were from the target squad because they were dressed in dark clothing except for one who had on a red jersey, who was also wearing a bulletproof vest. The woman recalled that one of the men was wearing a flop hat while the other three had on caps. She said that the men approached her and said: "Don't move, get out of the car."

"My first reaction was that this was an April Fool's Day joke," King said, but it sunk in that it was real when she took a look at the guns.

The woman said she got out of the car and one of the men approached her and snatched a gold chain off her neck. He was about to grab her left hand, on which she was wearing a gold bangle and band, but she pulled her hand away. King said she had something in her right hand but could not recall what it was. It was obvious that one of the bandits thought she had some weapon as he took his gun and poked her in the chest demanding to know what was in her hand.

By this time, one of the bandits had gone into the yard and started to drag her cousin towards the house, while the other three were "hot" on her for the car key. The woman said she hesitated for a while, but then she handed over the keys.

She related that the bandits then got into her car and she went into the yard where she overheard her cousin telling the one bandit that he could take anything but not to hurt her. However, on seeing her the bandit quickly left the yard warning them not to make a sound.

As soon as they got into the house the two women started to scream and some relatives who live at the back in another house ran out to their aid. The bandits fired shots before making their escape in the car.

King said that the bandits left their car in front of the yard with the engine running. She said that when the police visited the scene they found a submachine gun and a bullet in the car.

Stabroek News understands that the car which the bandits left behind belonged to former comptroller of customs, Clarence Chue, and had been stolen from his driver on Saturday night on Sheriff Street.

King said the police found her car at about 11 pm abandoned in front of the BJ Disco at Buxton. Stabroek News was told that the bandits hijacked another car from a man in the vicinity of Buxton whom they also robbed.

King yesterday said that the bandits stole a number of important documents which she had in the car. She said they ripped out the music system but did not steal it. She said the men also took her spectacles and sunglasses, which she had in the car along with a wig. Some pepperpot, which she also had in the car was stolen by the men and they took off her front number plate and threw it into the car.

The men then moved to Meadow Brook Gardens where they beat and robbed a Canadian consultant and his wife.

According to reports the man and his wife were on their way home when the four bandits appeared at the windows of the car armed with guns. They reportedly ordered the man and his wife to take them to their home, which was a short distance away and beat and robbed them of various articles. The men then abandoned the car they had hijacked at Buxton and took the man's car, which was found abandoned on the Linden highway. Residents in the Meadow Brook area said they heard gunshots and according to one, the bandits reversed the car they were in to the edge of a trench before accosting the man and his wife.