Dubai: A gang of six masked men armed themselves with a toy pistol, a taser gun and tear gas canister before they stormed into a money exchange house and stole Dh702,000.
Four of the six Kyrgyz men used corrosive material, the pistol and tear gas canister, according to records, to threaten two of the Al Karama-based exchange house’s staff and two clients during the daring heist around 4pm in December.
Records said a man, identified as B.B., was the mastermind behind the robbery and remains at large.
Prosecutors accused five other men, identified as I.K., T.U., E.M., M.R. and E.K., of robbing the exchange house, intentionally setting on fire the car that they had used during the heist and assaulting the staff with the corrosive material and the taser gun.
I.K. and T.U. were accused of resisting arrest and assaulting three policemen when they tried to detain them.
B.B. was additionally accused of stealing two number plates from another car and fixing them on the vehicle that they used during the robbery.
B.B. and E.M. were charged with entering the UAE illegally after they had been deported previously.
Excluding E.K., the four remaining suspects pleaded guilty and admitted that they carried out the armed robbery before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday.
“I participated in the heist but I did not set the car on fire … I stood there at the entrance but I did not collect any money. I did not assault any arresting policeman,” I.K. told presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi.
Meanwhile T.U. told the court that his role was driving the car.
“I participated only as a driver. B.B. is the one who masterminded the whole thing. He threatened us and coerced us to assist him in the heist by threatening to kill our families,” T.C. argued before the presiding judge.
“It was a toy pistol and not a real gun,” E.M. told presiding judge Al Shamsi.
E.K. refuted all his accusations and pleaded not guilty.
Defence lawyers Faisal Al Zarouni and Hamda Makki asked the court to hear prosecution witnesses when it reconvenes on October 19.
An Indian driver claimed to prosecutors that he witnessed two masked men storming into the exchange house when he went to collect a money transfer.
“One of them walked towards me and used the taser gun on me. He also sprayed corrosive material on me … I fell to the floor in pain. I heard shouting and screaming for nearly four minutes … then I was transferred to hospital,” he claimed.
An Indian salesman testified to prosecutors that a suspect also sprayed corrosive material in his eyes and used the taser gun on him.
An Indian woman staff claimed to prosecutors that four tall masked men stormed into the place while she was serving a client.
An Indian accountant testified to prosecutors: “One of the robbers cried to me ‘get out’. I felt scared and tried to hit the alarm button but it didn’t function. The staff ran out and one of the suspects went behind the counter and emptied the cash into a black bag that he was carrying.”
A police lieutenant claimed to prosecutors that the suspects were identified shortly after the incident.
“Some of them were apprehended in Sharjah. One was stopped at the airport and one of them remains at large,” he testified.
The trial continues.