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Western Union branch robber charged in court

Western Union branch robber charged in court
The armed robber fled with more than S$1,000 on Tuesday after threatening an employee at a Western Union branch in Ubi at knifepoint. He was nabbed after a three-day manhunt. Photos: SPF, Najeer Yusof/TODAY

Western Union branch robber charged in court

SINGAPORE — The robber who made off with more than S$1,000 from a Western Union branch in Ubi has been charged in court on Saturday (Aug 5) morning.

Hashim Hamzah, 58, was charged with armed robbery. He was arrested on Thursday night along Pasir Ris Drive 6 following a three-day manhunt.

On Tuesday morning, he allegedly entered the Western Union branch, which offers money-transfer services, at Block 301, Ubi Avenue 1, donning a helmet and a mask to hide his identity.

Wielding a knife, Hashim was said to have ordered the staff not to shout, and demanded for money. He initially took about S$4,000, but eventually fled on a bicycle with only S$1,071 in a bag after dropping some of the cash. The rest of the money was later found near the carpark area behind the branch.

The female employee was not hurt, and there was no other person at the outlet at the time.

Anyone convicted of armed robbery faces a jail term of between two and 10 years and up to 12 strokes of cane.

At a media conference on Friday, the police said Hashim had spent all the money. Among the case exhibits seized from the suspect were four 4D tickets bought with S$24, a red bicycle, a pair of dark blue trousers and a pair of black canvas shoes. The helmet and knife that he allegedly committed the robbery with were not found. 

The police had trawled through closed circuit TV footage provided by members of the public in various housing estates, including private estates, shophouses and eateries, to track the suspect down.

Said Commander of Bedok Police Division Tan Tin Wee: "Despite the initial lack of leads, we have worked long and hard over three days to trace the suspect's movements, establish his identity, and subsequently bring him to justice.

"The police do not tolerate such brazen acts and we will spare no effort to hunt down these offenders to ensure that they face the full brunt of the law."