A group of gay men, some in drag, hurled stones at a supermarket in New Kingston last Saturday after alert staff and security guards foiled an attempt by them to obtain groceries by fraud.
The angry group, said to number about 17, also threatened staff, forcing the company to increase security and provide added protection for their workers while they walk to bus stops after closing time.
According to a source at the supermarket, the drama unfolded at about 8:00 pm after three of the men entered the supermarket, while the others waited outside.
"Members from the group, some dressed as women, came to the supermarket and attempted to purchase some items," said the source.
When the cashier made the normal request for identification to verify the user of the credit card, the man who handed her the card became boisterous, claiming that it belonged to his male companion.
His rowdy behaviour drew the attention of security personnel and the other gay men outside.
The three men inside the supermarket resisted the security guards' attempts to apprehend them and ran outside where they joined their friends, some of whom brandished knives and machetes and threatened the staff and security guards.
The angry men then started hurling stones at the supermarket, the source said, forcing the security team to pull the shutters to protect the building.
The security guards also alerted the police who, on arrival, were able to apprehend one of the men as the others fled.
Yesterday, the New Kingston police confirmed the incident.
"We received reports that there was an incident at the supermarket and that one man was apprehended and charged for uttering forged documents," said Commander Christopher Murdock.
"The police have also launched a manhunt for other members of the group who are wanted for several crimes, including stabbing and robberies," Murdock said.
A police man stationed at the New Kingston Police Post provided more information about the men, but asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak with the media.
"The men are part of a group that go around and commit crimes," he said. "We are seeking to talk to these men in relation to a number of incidents."
Yesterday, the Observer saw four security guards on duty outside the supermarket.
"Some of the men threatened they would carry out a drive-by [shooting] at the supermarket. Since then, security have started to escort some workers to the various bus stops when they are on their way home," said one of the security guards.
The police have also said that they would be investigating the report that threats were issued.
"We did not receive reports about the threats, but this is something that we will be looking into," said one policeman at the New Kingston Police Post.
Late last year, member of parliament for St Andrew South Eastern Julian Robinson reported that the business community and residents in the New Kingston, Golden Triangle, and Trafalgar Park areas have complained about the rowdy behaviour of homosexual men who congregate in those communities at night.
The men have reportedly assaulted people, and in one incident killed one of their own in a fight in an open lot. Their behaviour has resulted in the local gay rights group, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals & Gays, abandoning them.