Woman says dead teen robber ‘forced’ to rob bank to save sibling

Police truck parked outside the bank in Kota Tinggi, Johor. Screengrab: Johor FM /YouTube
Police truck parked outside the bank in Kota Tinggi, Johor. Screengrab: Johor FM /YouTube

A woman who was held hostage in an armed bank robbery yesterday said she heard the perpetrator saying he was forced to commit the crime to rescue his family. 

Mardiah Mat Ripi, 26, revealed this to the press after the incident at the Maybank branch in Kota Tinggi, Johor led to the death of the teen robber who was shot by security guards. Mardiah said the robber had confessed his motivation after he was asked by other people at the scene. 

“The robber said ‘I didn’t want to do it, but my boss told me to,’” Mardiah was quoted as saying by the press. The robber was holding her with a sickle to the neck when he was gunned down in the ribs, reports said. Police said that the 19-year-old man had no prior criminal records. 

“He said he was forced to rob the bank because his sibling would be killed if he didn’t get the money,” Mardiah added. The deceased said he needed RM20,000 (US$4,700).

“People asked him about his motive to rob the bank to calm the hostage situation,” Mardiah said. “The deceased said, ‘I don’t want to do it, but my sibling is with my boss, and if I don’t get the money, my sibling will die.’” 

The brief hostage situation lasted for half an hour.

Mardiah was accompanying her 56-year-old mother Ratnah Ahab, who the robber had also tried to take hostage but failed.

The robber was pronounced dead at the scene and his body taken to the Sultan Ismail hospital for post-mortem.

The police are investigating this case under Section 307 and 393 of the Penal Code, which covers attempted homicide and robbery. It is not clear if the police are looking for the teenager’s sibling. 

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