Despite a spate of robberies, people are reluctant to use police’s ‘money escort’ service

22 January 2021 ONLINE DESK
Despite a spate of robberies, people are reluctant to use police’s ‘money escort’ service

The police are offering security during the transportation of large sums of cash in Dhaka, but the people appear to have little or no interest in the special service called ‘money escort’ despite repeated incidents of mugging.
Businessmen, company staffers and ordinary people lose hefty amounts of money while carrying the cash on their own. Some of them even get hurt in the assaults committed by the muggers. In some cases, people are even killed.
Police officials say the people can avoid such incidents simply by taking help from the 10 teams formed by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to provide the money escort service.
A total of five teams are always ready at the police control room on Abdul Gani Road to provide money escort service to individuals or organisations under Ramna, Motijheel, Wari and Lalbagh divisions under the DMP, while Mirpur Police Control Room has five teams to cater to the people in Mirpur, Gulshan, Uttara and Tejgaon divisions.
Those seeking the services just need to dial 9559933, 9551188, 9514400 or 01713398311.
Local police stations and DMP Central Command and Control Centre have been campaigning to motivate people to use the money escort service.
A large group of traders do business in wholesale hubs Badamtali, Islampur and Babubazar but only a few of them opt for the money escort service offered by the police, said Mizanur Rahman, chief of Kotowali Police in Old Dhaka.
Shahin Fakir, OC of Bangshal Police Station, now speaks to the managers of the banks in his area every morning, requesting them to inform the police in case they need any assistance.
"We speak to the local traders too, but they have never shown any interest in the service. Only four to five people seek the money escort service while many traders shift the money from one place to another by themselves," he said.
Some people avail the service during the Eid holidays but not in other times, said OC Delwar Hossain of Bhashantek Police Station. 
An official was shot while on his way to a sub-post office snatching an amount of Tk 5 million belonging to the clients as in their Sanchaypatra and FDR, which he withdrew from a post office in Kalihati, Tangail on May 17, 2020. An official was shot while on his way to a sub-post office snatching an amount of Tk 5 million belonging to the clients as in their Sanchaypatra and FDR, which he withdrew from a post office in Kalihati, Tangail on May 17, 2020. Police are always prepared to provide security to the people, said Sudeep Kumar Chakrabarty, deputy commissioner of police in Gulshan division. "Especially, we send the team immediately when they ask for money escort service," he said.
But people do not want to make use of the service because not all funds are legitimately earned, he said.
People seek assistance from the police when they want to move a large amount, usually more than Tk 10 million, said Dhaka Superintendent of Police Maruf Hossain Sardar. Some of the readymade garment factory owners commonly take help from the police to carry around large amounts of money, he said.

While the public are indifferent towards availing police protection, crimes, including mugging, theft or deception have not ebbed. 
On May 10 last year, a bag full of Tk 8 million cash was lost from a National Bank vehicle. The bank filed a case at Kotowali Police Station over the incident.
In a few days, the Detective Branch of police recovered Tk 6 million of the lost amount and arrested four looters carrying foreign arms.
In a separate incident on the same day, two brothers Saiful Islam Sabuj, 35, and Rafiqul Islam Mukul, 30, were robbed of Tk 5.5 million from Janapad Intersection in Jatrabari. They used to run an agency office of Dutch-Bangla Bank in Kajla, Jatrabari and were on their way to the Motijheel foreign exchange branch on a motorcycle to deposit the money.
Upon reaching the Janapad intersection, six armed robbers in three motorbikes blocked their way and pushed down their bike. The robbers bludgeoned them and took the bag of cash while firing warning shots.
In another incident in khilgaon on the same day, muggers snatched Tk 2 million from Abdus Salam, 30, an employee of Ekota Department Store in Goran Bazar. Salam headed out to deposit the money at nearby Dhaka Bank at around 10:30am. The criminals blocked his path and fired four rounds of bullets. Salam was shot in his leg and the robbers took away the bag full of money. Locals subsequently rescued Salam and admitted him to the hospital.
On Jun 7, 2020 criminals looted Tk 8.2 million when the employees of a garment factory in Gazipur withdrew the cash from a bank.
A few years ago, criminals shot a rice trader in Babubazar in Kushtia and looted Tk 5 million from him. Later, the trader died from his injuries.
Also, on Aug 8, 2011, criminals shot ‘Khairul’, chief accountant of Masters Garments in Matuail, Jatrabari and snatched Tk 4 million from him.
In a similar incident, a fruit trader was shot and mugged of Tk 1.6 million in Nababbari of Old Dhaka on Apr 15, 2015.
Selim Akhter, an accountant of Sanofi Pharma, was carrying Tk 3.3 million of his company to deposit it in BRAC Bank when muggers on a motorbike intervened in front of Bishal Centre in Mogbazar on May 25, 2020. They shot Akhter and snatched the money away in broad daylight.
In separate incidents in 2016 and 2018, three bKash agents were shot and the criminals looted Tk 2.2 million in total.

Explaining their unwillingness to take police assistance despite so many incidents of mugging and looting, traders said they want to “avoid harassment”
“The first thing police do is ask where we got such a big amount from. We don’t want to get in trouble,” said Saiful Islam, an oil trader in Old Dhaka.
Clothing trader ‘Mamun’ from Patuatuli holds a similar view. “We receive money almost every day and deposit it in the bank. How many times can we seek help from the police?”
As many as 54 banks are there under the jurisdiction of his police station, said OC Moudut Howlader of Chawkbazar Police Station. These banks have transactions worth billions every day but they hardly seek assistance from the police.
The police provided them with security whenever the banks called them, he said.
“Police never ask for the source of money but simply provide them security,” Moudut said.
Recently, two policemen in plainclothes stayed at the house of a garment factory owner in Gulshan to provide security as he had a large amount of money at home. The incident took place a few months ago, said OC Abul Hasan of Gulshan Police Station.
The businessman, who owns a garment factory in Gazipur, withdrew Tk 65 million when it was already evening. As it was Thursday, he would not be able to pay his workers on the following day even if the police escorted him to Gazipur, the OC told
“When the businessman was worried, we told him that we can send two policemen to his house for security. But he felt that the presence of police will create curiosity among his neighbours.”
“Therefore, two policemen spent two nights at his home pretending to be family members to provide security.”
The money was escorted to the Gazipur factory when it opened.
The OC urged everyone to seek assistance from police for ensuring security of their money.


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