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Armed robbers made off with almost 10kg of gold in a mid-day heist in Mogok, leaving one dead and another injured, according to the Burma Police.
A convoy of around six robbers, wearing balaclavas and armed with handguns, hit up two jewellery stores in the Mandalay town. The burglary took place in broad daylight at Naga and Million jewellers in Mogok’s Aung Chan Thar ward on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said the robbers came in firing, as they entered the shops after arriving at the scene on motorbikes.
Burma Police spokesperson brigadier-general Win Khaung said the robbers made off with nearly 10kg of gold.
“The masked robbers, assumed to be in their youth, arrived at the scene on motorbikes, armed with four handguns – they split into two groups, put on balaclavas and walked right in the stores firing shots,” said Win Khaung, adding that the thieves smashed showcases with hammers to retrieve the gold.
He said the police force has launched an investigation to find the bandits, who left one person dead and another injured during the episode.
Mogok resident Tun Oo said the robbery was the first of its kind in the town. It was unusual, he said, for such a crime to occur in broad daylight and with firearms, which to him suggested that the robbers are not likely from the area.
“We have never heard of something like this – apparently no one had seen the robbers in the town before and residents are worried,” said Tun Oo. “We’ve had robbery attempts at jewellery stores but not like this, involving guns.”
Mogok is a mineral rich town in the heart of Burma’s “valley of rubies”, the source of rare, highly saturated gems sometimes referred to as “pigeon’s blood” rubies. The town is now within the boundaries of Mandalay Division, but until the early 2000’s it sat within the Shan State borders.