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ACP Watkiss leads probe into robbery of Chinese nationals

Thursday, January 16, 2014    

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ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Devon Watkiss is leading a probe into Sunday's robbery of several Chinese nationals in Hope Pastures, St Andrew.

In a release to the media, the police said the decision was taken after a meeting between the high command and representatives of the Chinese community in Jamaica at the police commissioner's office on Old Hope Road. He is expected to be assisted by the Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford-led Flying Squad.

"The investigative team already has some leads, and there is optimism that the hoodlums responsible will be caught soon," the release stated.

The Chinese were in the island to carry out a special project at Hope Gardens, on behalf of the Chinese Government.

Police report that about eight men, armed with guns and knives, invaded a house occupied by eleven visitors, tied them up, and demanded money.

During the robbery one of the Chinese suffered a broken jaw, while another was pistol whipped.

The robbers reportedly made off with US$12,000 in cash, 10 laptops, iPads, and cellular phones.

The police have since assured members of the Chinese community that measures have been put in place to protect them.

The measures announced include:

* The appointment of a security liaison officer to meet regularly with the victims' representative to discuss and co-ordinate police support on security matters;

* Risk assessment has been done on the residences, places of business and areas where the victims regularly travel, and dedicated police patrols have been put in place protect them;

* The police have requested a list of all Chinese companies conducting joint venture project developments with the Government. These will also be subject to a risk assessment and security resources will be committed as needed; and

* The police will continue their programme of protection operations around the Chinese community to reduce the risk of criminal victimisation based on certain vulnerabilities that the criminals are exploiting.

"The Police High Command is aware of the strategic importance of the Jamaica/ China relationship to the economic development and well-being of both nations and remains committed to protecting Chinese nationals and their businesses here in Jamaica," Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said.

Ellington also condemned the targeting of Chinese nationals by criminals, and urged the public to report all instances of crimes committed against them.

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