Hearing of alleged A.T.M. thieves begins
The hearing of the two Chinese men accused of stealing money from A.T.Ms of the Bank of South Pacific started yesterday.
Zhong Shuiming and Yang Quigreen appeared before District Court Judge Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.
They are facing 16 charges; 13 counts of theft and three counts of accessing the A.T.M machines without authority.
The Chinese men are represented by lawyer, Alex Su’a, who informed the Court his clients were willing to plead guilty to four of the charges.
The four charges include:
• Intentionally accessing A.T.M. without authority
• Stealing $9,700 from the A.T.M. Machine at Vaitele-Tai on the 22nd August 2016,
• Stealing $1,000 also at Vaitele-Tai A.T.M. on the 23rd August 2016
• Stealing $12,500 from the A.T.M. at Tangumanono on the 23rd August 2016.
Judge Fepulea’i accepted the application.
That leaves twelve charges against the defendants.
The prosecution is Lucy Sio.
Shirley Pauga, Manager of the Retail Banking of the Bank of the South Pacific, told the Court the men targeted the A.T.M. at Matautu first.
“Matautu was the first machine where we had captured most of the cards (that had been swallowed)."
“From there, we saw most of the transactions were rejected by the machine for the reasons that I’ve mentioned before like, invalid pins and so forth.”
The Bank then sent an A.T.M. Officer to investigate and he found footages of the two Chinese men.
“Te’i told us that these two men were also at Tanugamanono the previous day when they went to check the machine.”
She said they had recovered nearly thirty cards.
“These cards all look the same,” she said.
“Its colour is blue and black."
“The only stuff on the card, is the word VIP on the top left corner and five digit numbers down the bottom. They all look the same except different digit numbers at the bottom.”
Shirley Pauga said the cards are different from B.S.P’s cards.
A Chinese businessman, Yeng Ping, also gave evidence.
He is the owner of Dirgo’s Motel located at Matautu-Uta.
“On the 21st of August 2016 last year, three Chinese men came to rent a room at my hotel,” he said.
“These two (pointing to where the Chinese men were sitting) and the other one (he left the country on the 23rd August)."
“They came and rented a room at my hotel, room number one and room number three.”
Mr. Ping told the Court he wasn’t aware about what was happening until the Police arrived on 24 August 2016.
“When the police arrived, the defendants were on the second floor,” he continues."
“They ran up the stairs on the second floor, they went into their room and locked the door."
He said that he was still on the first floor when the police arrived.
“Then I went, got the keys and opened the door. Then the police entered the room and took their belongings.”
The hearing continues today.