Two suspects were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday after an armed robbery at a Chinese-owned brick-making factory near Kombat on Tuesday night.
A gang of six suspects got away with N$150 000 in cash, a Samsung cellphone, a 9mm pistol and one vehicle. So far the police have recovered only N$59 200 of the stolen money.
Otjozondjupa regional crime investigation coordinator Chief Inspector Naukalemo Andreas said two suspects were arrested separately at the Windhoek-Okahandja roadblock.
On Tuesday at 20h36 three Chinese men, who were watching television at the house at the factory, were attacked by a group of six unknown robbers. The robbers gained entrance to the residence through an unlocked door, Andreas said.
A police helicopter and heavily armed members of the Namibian police were seen in the vicinity of the Otavi filling station on Wednesday afternoon searching for the suspects.
She said a 35-year-old man (name withheld) was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after he was found in possession of N$6 200 in cash. Andreas said the suspect claimed he had bought clothes at Otjiwarongo prior to his arrest.
Andreas said a second suspect was arrested yesterday morning at around 03h00 at the same roadblock: “He was found with N$2 000 in cash and also said he had bought clothes. He had receipts in his possession.”
The Chief Inspector told New Era that three Chinese nationals were hospitalised as they were badly injured in their faces. “They were taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Their faces are seriously swollen,” said Andreas.
“They were assaulted, kicked, punched, hit with a panga and pistol-whipped,” Andreas said, adding that the robbers demanded the Chinese open the safe.
“Thirty spent cartridges were found on the scene,” she said. Victim Zhang yan Long, 27, was forced to open the safe; the robbers then took N$150 000 and also got away with a silver Lexus.
While the robbers were attacking the Chinese nationals in the factory, fellow Chinese co-workers fired warning shots outside, prompting the robbers to start shooting randomly.
Andreas said the victims alerted the police, who then traced the suspects. She said the robbers, who were travelling in the Lexus, jumped out and abandoned the vehicle when they realised the police were hot in pursuit.
“While the police were chasing these suspects, another vehicle, a Toyota Hilux, drove by at high speed in the direction of Tsumeb, which made the police suspicious,” she related. She reported that 5km outside Otavi the suspects suddenly stopped the vehicle, jumped out and fled.
Andreas said the police recovered from the abandoned vehicle N$51 450 in cash, 21 live rounds of ammunition, a 9mm pistol and two cellphones belonging to the suspects. The police also found a cellphone belonging to one of the Chinese nationals and a panga used in the robbery.
The getaway vehicle was impounded and taken to Otavi police station.