Restaurant owner slain by bandit
Police use tracker dog in failed bid to find shooter
By Nigel Williams
December 8, 2003
A Chinese national of Cove and John was shot dead in his business place yesterday morning by a bandit as terror and robbery continue on the East Coast of Demerara.
Su Pu Zhog, 39, proprietor of the Silver Well Chinese Restaurant located at Lot 4 Cove and John Public Road, East Coast Demerara was killed by one of two gunmen who attempted to rob his business shortly after midnight and some three hours after three men had hijacked a Vick Taxi Service car in front of the Golden Grove Cemetery on the Golden Grove Public Road.
It is not clear whether the same persons were involved in the two incidents.
Su Pu Zhog had been operating his restaurant at the location for four years. When Stabroek News visited Cove and John yesterday morning, the Chinese restaurant was tightly locked and neighbours said since Su's murder, his wife and children had fled the home.
Reports are that Su, who operates the business along with his wife, would usually close their business very late especially on Saturday nights.
This, according to reports, was to facilitate late night customers and rum drinkers who would sometimes spend several hours at the restaurant.
According to a press release from the Guyana Police Force the murder occurred around 12:10 am yesterday and was carried out by two men, one of whom was armed with a gun. The release said Su was in the process of closing his premises when the men forced their way in demanding money.
The police said the proprietor reportedly resisted and was shot in the region of the neck. The police responded promptly but not before the bandits had already fled the scene, the release added.
Residents in the area told this newspaper that they heard when the gunshot went off, but they did not respond immediately because of the crime situation in the country.
"You know country people as soon as they hear something they would respond, but not now `pardner', once you hear gunshot the best thing to do is to stay in you house," a resident declared to this newspaper.
Stabroek News was told that the bandits arrived on the scene in a car but were dropped off some distance away from the restaurant. The bandits walked to the restaurant but on entering the yard the front door was already closed so they went around to the western side.
It was while they were there they encountered Su who was about to close up the place. Reports are that the men accosted the proprietor, one of them placing a gun to his temple.
Stabroek News was told that a scuffle ensued between Su and the bandits at which time he raised his voice at them and attempted to slam the door in their faces. One of the bandits then fired a shot in his neck. The proprietor slumped to the floor just in front of the door. He was later picked up and transported to the Georgetown Hospital but died on arrival.
After the shot was fired, the bandits aborted their mission and fled somewhere in the direction of the sea wall. A report was made to the nearby Cove and John Police Station and ranks responded a few minutes later with a tracker dog which led them up the Cove and John seashore and then into a playfield. After an hour-long search that yielded nothing, the officers abandoned the search and returned to their base.
While at Cove and John, Stabroek News observed the blood-stained floor where Su fell. Neighbours described him as a very pleasant person.
In the earlier incident, the driver of the taxi managed to dupe his hijackers who had forced him into the trunk of the car with his hands and face tightly duct-taped. The terror began around 8 pm on Saturday when the proprietor of the taxi service received an order for a car to pick up a man at Golden Grove to take him to Anns Grove further up the East Coast.
According to the proprietor, who gave his name as Vick, his caller's ID showed that the number was a private call. He said he would not usually accept orders from persons when there is no telephone number, but for some reason or the other he accepted the order and immediately sent hire car HA 9023. Vick added that he sent the car because most of his customers were from the Golden Grove/Enmore area.
The driver Looknauth Chandanand said he arrived at Golden Grove about five minutes after the request was received only to find four men opposite the Golden Grove cemetery on the public road waiting on him. He said the men were neatly dressed and he opened the car's doors allowing them to enter.
Chandanand said on his way to Anns Grove in the vicinity of the Hope Access Road one of the men who sat next to him pulled a gun from his waist and ordered him to stop the vehicle.
He complied and one of the men pulled him from the driver's seat with a gun pointed to his head and carried him to the back seat where they proceeded to duct-tape his hands and mouth and also blindfolded him.
He said the men then drove the car into the Hope Access Road, stopped it and placed him in the trunk. He said while, in the trunk he overheard the hijackers trying to make contact with someone on their cellular phone without success.
While this was happening, Vick said he tried to make contact with Chandanand since it was around 30 minutes since he had left the base. He said he tried both his radio set and the taxi driver's cellular phone, but could not get to him. "So I start to get suspicious."
Vick told this newspaper that he jumped into one of his vehicles and proceeded to Anns Grove and on his way he saw the reflection of a car light on Hope Road.
He said he called out for Chandanand but got no answer and as such he reversed his car and went to make a report at the Cove and John Police Station.
While Vick was heading for the station, another driver of the taxi service had already made contact with the police and he was on his way to Anns Grove when he saw Chandanand running out of the Hope Road. Vick said the driver picked up Chandanand and escorted him to the police station. Chandanand reported that he managed to escape from the hijacker by untying himself from the duct tape, opening the trunk and fleeing. He said the men saw when he jumped out of the trunk but none of them went after him.
Vick told this newspaper that a party of policemen later proceeded to Hope after receiving the news but only found the car abandoned on the road. The hijackers had apparently fled into thick bushes on the road.
Vick said there was no damage to the vehicle neither had Chandanand suffered any serious injuries but the hijackers had stripped him of two gold rings, one gold chain and some $14,000 in cash.
Up to yesterday afternoon the car was in the custody of the police. It was the first time the taxi service, only recently established, had encountered such problems.
Ever since a gang of bandits attacked five Coldingen families last week Wednesday, the police have beefed up their presence along the East Coast. This was evident yesterday when Stabroek News visited. Asgar Ali one of the robbery victims also confirmed this, saying that since the robbery there has been an increased police presence in the area.
Ali however said he was still wary, noting that when the bandits do not strike during the day they would strike at nights.
He observed that the police were not patrolling the area as regularly during the night.
Stabroek News observed police patrols in the villages of Paradise, Golden Grove, Enmore, Non Pariel and Coldingen yesterday.