Two men accused of skimming more than $10,000 from the A.T.M. machines of a local bank last month were in Court on Tuesday.
The men’s appearance followed the discovery by the Police who filed the charges and arrested them. Yang Quigreen and Zhong Shuiming appeared before Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai and their hearing has been adjourned.
When the allegations were first made public, there was a sense of shock in Samoa as such incidents are very rare.
Yesterday, the Samoa Observer took to the streets to find out if Samoans have changed their attitude in the use of A.T.M machines, given the event that has unfolded.
It turns out that some people don’t really care. They continue to view A.T.Ms as the most convenient way of withdrawing cash. Take for example Nora.
She said she still gets her money from the A.T.M machine.
“Well, when you are desperate on a weekend and you need money, you do not have another opportunity than to use an A.T.M,” she said. “I will still use it, I am trusting in them more now than ever because there is now a lot of precaution and attention on it than before.”
Misi from Australia trusts the banking system.
“I live in Australia but when I arrived here, I use the A.T.M just like we do in Australia. I trust them.” Seminare and Josephine admitted that the incident before the Court had alarmed them.
”Yes we heard about the two Chinese guys but they were caught,” Josephine said.
“We feel safe to use them though. The banks still use cameras to follow up. We are still taking our money from here because we trust our country and our people.”
Titilua agrees. She said the incident involving the A.T.M. machines is unfortunate but it happens all over the world.
“I think it is more an internal security system issue,” she said. “As long as I can get my receipt, it is fine with me. And I am sure the Bank reimburses my money if it gets stolen.”
For Ela, she is not ignorant of the risks of using an A.T.M machine.
“For me it is quite important to cover and make sure that nobody is watching me when I’m entering the pin code,“ she said. “I still trust and I am using the A.T.Ms the same way as before the recent incidents. However, you should be very careful.”
But some people prefer the old way of banking with a teller.
Simativa from Apia always uses a teller even though that costs her more money.
“For me it’s a security issue,” she said. Another customer, Pene, said his preference depends on his circumstance.”
“Sometimes I trust the A.T.M machines,” he said.
”I heard about what the Chinese guys did and that scared me. So for now, I prefer to go inside the bank because I just want to be sure. It doesn’t matter for me that the bank takes the five tala as a fee but at least I’m on the safe side.”