Just take a look at the video outside the home of a Chinese national in Claxton Bay, last Friday morning.
A marked police vehicle, with flashing lights, pulled up to the gate and one officer got out. While the majority of residents of Claxton Bay were asleep just after midnight, five “cops” got out and went into the premises. They kept their eyes on two dogs which were roaming free in the yard.
Two of the officers went inside and pretended they had a warrant. What happened next was that these two officers robbed the Chinese man of $400,000 cash, an I-Phone, and guess what, an unlicensed rifle and they left.
The Chinese man reported the matter to the St Margaret’s Police Station. Investigators got the shock of their lives when on checking, they discovered that the marked police vehicle was assigned to the San Juan Sub-Station.
When they checked, the vehicle and a firearm were checked out by a Special Reserve Officer, who was transferred to that station just weeks before. In order words, the officer took the vehicle in San Juan, the North-Eastern Division, and carried out a robbery in the Southern Division, with other police officers.
The burning question? Was this the first time that these officers carried out such a crime? Or have they been attacking the Chinese community and relieving them of thousands of dollars in cash, knowing full well that the Chinese business people prefer to keep their money on their premises rather than in banks?
The national community must never forget that it was a group of serving soldiers who were carrying out kidnappings during the period 2004 and 2006 until they were caught when United States citizen Balram ‘Balo’ Maharaj died. These soldiers, from the elite Special Forces unit, kidnapped wealthy persons until they were held, extradited, convicted and jailed in Washington DC.
Remember it is alleged that it was a combination of police and soldiers who kidnapped hairdresser Ria Sookdeo in Debe on September 22. No ransom was demanded and Ria has never seen again.
Remember two ex-Special Forces soldiers were held on the Uriah Butler Highway in October with a cache of arms after attempting to burn down a house and kill a man in Tableland.
CRIMES AGAINST THE CHINESE
In September, eight months after Chinese national Xing Xia was shot in her right eye at her family-owned CNA Supermarket, New Grant, bandits committed another violent robbery there again. But quick work by Princes Town CID, who were involved in a shootout with the bandits, led to three of the suspects being captured.
According to reports, four men drove into the supermarket’s compound in a silver Nissan Tiida. Two of the men were dressed in red and orange coveralls and hard helmets while another wore dark clothing, a bullet proof vest, and a cap. Police said two of them were armed with guns and they all wore gloves.
They walked into the supermarket and on seeing the cashier, they began cuffing him on the face, busting his forehead. They bound his hands and feet with plastic straps before raiding the cash register of an undisclosed amount of money.
Closed circuit television footage from the supermarket showed the men leaving in the car, which had several pieces of paper stuck on it.
Police were called in and a search was launched. Involved were the Southern Division Rapid Response Unit, the National Security Operations Centre helicopter, Southern Division Task Force, Tableland, and Moruga police.
As the officers approached, the men fired several shots and ran into a yard. The officers returned fire and chased the suspects, capturing two of them. The car had a different registration plate from what was captured in the video footage.
However, police found several pieces of paper which were used to cover the logo of a rental company and several dents on the
front and rear bumpers. They said the registration plate they saw in the CCTV footage was false.
As the two suspects were being questioned at the Princes Town Police Station, a man walked into the Rio Claro Police Station and reported that he rented a car and sublet it to someone else. He said when he went to pick up the vehicle he heard several gunshots so he ran.
He was taken into custody for further questioning. As the search continued for the other suspects, police said, they already know their identities.
On January 30, two bandits, one armed with a gun and the other with a knife, went to rob the supermarket when they were involved in a shootout with a security officer.
Xia, 30, was at the cash register when she was shot in her eye. One of the suspects, a 20-year-old man from the area, was struck in the stomach and leg. After undergoing surgery at the San Fernando General Hospital, she returned to China.
CHINESE WOMAN BEATEN, ROBBED
In December 2015, a Chinese national, owner of a restaurant and bar, was beaten and robbed by two men as she made her way to the bank at Cipero Street, San Fernando.
The woman operated Lai King Chinese Restaurant and Bar on Cipero street. The woman was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where she was treated and discharged.
In recent years, there has been an increase in Chinese restaurants, groceries, and gambling outlets in Trinidad. But there has been no increase in banking activities and these Chinese operators prefer to keep their monies at home.