There was an armed robbery which took place this morning (Monday 02 April) at about 9.30am.
About five armed men held up an Asian shop owner at Downtown Lae. While the robbery was in progress, a Police Traffic unit was close by and was alerted by gunshots fired by the suspects at the security guard of the shop. The Traffic Unit was attending to another job close by when the gunshots were fired.
Upon realising that an armed robbery was in progress the unit responding quickly to the scene, where they came across the suspects escaping in a sedan. Other Police Units were alerted and quickly blocked off escape routes. However the suspects were on high speed, and fired at Police who had blocked off. A police vehicle, in pursuit was fired at, where the windscreen was penetrated by a bullet which went straight through and out the back window of the Police car. Another shot was fired at the same pursuing police vehicle which hit the top of the vehicle.
Police could not return fire immediately because of the large number of people walking on the road. Police have been instructed not to endanger the lives of public in such instances.
The pursuing Police vehicle which was shot at had one of the members on board sustain pellet wounds to his left arm.
The chase started at Down Town Lae, through Airways Avenue, on to China Town, Bumbu bridge, ending up at Busurum compound .
As the chase was going on the suspects continued to open fire on Police.
The suspects, when realising that they had been cornered off, abandoned the vehicle at Busurum Compound and made off on foot, still firing at Police.
The suspects were pursued by Police on foot . They however managed to cross the road and into the back of Marting Luther Seminary towards Sipaya village.
Very good Police response managed to have all avenues for them to get out blocked. A lone SRU member who sighted them at the back of Malahang Technical College was fired upon and engaged in a shootout with the four suspects. From the shootout they were pushed further into the back between Sipaya and Hanta Compound.
All Police units were redeployed and went in to search for the armed men .
Police were again shot at, narrowly missing a young Constable who fast reflexes and defensive action saved him from being gunned down at close range .
Police reinforcements managed to reach the members and went in further, but were again shot at. Police returned fire, killing three armed men at the scene. One of the suspects has been wounded on the left leg.
Two factory made shot guns, a homemade gun and live ammunition have been retrieved by Police .
The weapons had live ammunition still in the chamber and barrel.
The public also handed some empty bullet shells to Police. The shells are from the suspects when they shot at Police whilst on hot pursuit in the vehicle.
Bullet shells have also been retrieved from the vehicle used in the robbery.
We believe there was also a high powered rifle used , from judging the distance and impact the Police vehicle received when fired upon by the suspects.
From the robbery, the Asian shop owner was injured whilst the security guard was shot by the gang. Their condition can not be released as of yet as they have been moved to a private hospital.
I am warning criminal gangs in Lae, that you must not try such daring robberies. The response time for Police now is fast. The criminals were very daring to shoot at Police, not only on one instance, but more than seven encounters with Police, both whilst on vehicle pursuit and on foot.
I thank God Almighty for His Protection over my personnel in this very dangerous situation, when they were fired upon . I could have lost a couple of good policemen today, but Thank God for His Protection.
Alot of the public could have been injured in the reckless shooting carried out by the gang.
Somehow no one for injured.
Police investigators are now working on the case.
I thank all of the Police personnel in Lae who all did their part and backed each other up.