KUALA NERUS, DUNGUN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Robbers targeting ATM machines struck twice in the span of 24 hours in the Malaysian state of Terengganu, making off with a combined total of about RM1.4 million (S$470,000) in loot.
The first robbery, which took place at a hypermarket in Kuala Nerus in the early hours of Sunday (Sept 4) morning, was committed by a group of seven robbers believed to be foreigners.
They fled with RM1.14 million in cash after cutting open two ATMs and three safe boxes.
State Criminal Investigation Department chief Wan Abd Aziz Wan Hamzah said the group carried out the robbery between 2.15am and 6.45am.
"There were four security guards on duty at the hypermarket about 2.15am when one of them encountered the robbers," explained Assistant Commissioner Wan Abd Aziz.
"Before he could alert the others, he was held, tied up by the robbers and threatened to cooperate," ACP Wan Abd Aziz told reporters at the crime scene.
The remaining guards were also ambushed and tied up.
The robbers turned off the recordings in the security room before looting the premises. They were believed to have been armed with oxy-acetylene gas, grinders and other tools to open the ATMs and safe boxes.
One of the security guards, Mr Mohd Aswadi Arifin, told The Star that he had been clocking in when he was approached by a man with a parang and warned to keep quiet.
Another guard, Mr Mohd Fatihi Salam Mohd Ghazali, said he heard a scream from one of his colleagues and rushed to help.
"All of a sudden, two robbers appeared with parangs and one them also had a gun," he said.
He added that they were lucky that none of them were badly hurt in the incident.
Both guards claimed that the robbers were foreigners.
In a separate robbery at a bank in Dungun, robbers blasted an ATM and escaped with RM267,510 in cash.
No statement was released as the incident is still under investigation, said Dungun district police chief Superintendent Ahmad Zailani Yaacub.
The robbery was believed to have taken place between 3am and 6am.
According to Malaysian news agency Bernama, the force of the blast shattered the glass panes at the bank's ATM centre.