Fast food worker headed a robbery gang at Dhaka airport: RAB
Fifty-one-year-old Amir Hossain has been working in a food shop opposite Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for the last 15 years. But beneath the facade of a fast food worker, he orchestrated the robberies of more than 300 migrant workers as the leader of a gang based in the airport area, according to the Rapid Action Battalion.
Amir is implicated in over 15 cases and has been arrested twice in 2022, most recently with three others on charges of robbing a Kuwait-based migrant worker in September, the RAB said on Sunday, reports bdnews24.com.
The other arrestees are 48-year-old Liton Mia, a microbus driver, 35-year-old Abu Bakkar Siddique, a jewellery shop owner, and 40-year-old Zakir Hossain, a printing press worker.
Members of the gang beguiled their unsuspecting victims in the guise of professionals from various fields before knocking them out unconscious and robbing them, said Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of the RAB's media wing.
The gang has around 10 members, many of whom have been put behind bars, but they resumed their criminal activities after they were released, according to him.
They mainly targeted migrants who did not have any relatives come pick them up from the airport.
On Sept 2, the gang robbed a migrant worker who was planning to go to Bogura from the airport after returning home from Kuwait early in the morning.
As the migrant prepared to leave the capital, one of Amir's cohorts approached him and soon struck up a good rapport with him. Then, Amir arrived on the scene with a passport and luggage in hand.
In order to gain the migrant's trust, he passed himself off as a returnee from Kuwait and told him that he, too, was headed to Bogura, although he is actually a native of Barishal. Amir even took out some Kuwaiti currency from his pocket to bolster his credibility.
He also introduced some of his other associates as close relatives to the migrant. They then claimed to have an extra bus ticket to Bogura, explaining that one of their relatives who was supposed to travel with them had decided to stay back, and offered it to the migrant.
When the expatriate took up their offer, they went to Uttara's Azampur Bus Stand and boarded a Bogura-bound bus.
Amir and the expatriate sat next to each other. Meanwhile, one of the other arrestees, Liton, took a seat close to them. As the bus started moving, Amir handed some biscuits, laced with anaesthetics, to the expatriate, who fell unconscious after having them.
Amir subsequently plucked the bus' luggage tag out of his pocket. He then got off the bus with Liton in Sirajganj and made off with the migrant's luggage.
However, the bus supervisor figured out the ruse and contacted the victim's relatives.
According to the RAB, the luggage contained about eight Bhori of gold ornaments and other valuable items. The gold ornaments were sold to Abu Bakkar, who owns a jewellery shop in Shyampur.
Abu Bakkar paid Amir Tk 445,000, the price of 6.5 Bhori, for the ornaments. Amir later gave Liton Tk 100,000 and Tk 50,000 to Zakir and another one of his associates, while keeping the rest of the money for himself.
Following Abu Bakkar's arrest, some of the stolen gold was recovered from him in a molten state, said Moin. Amir had also sold stolen items to Abu Bakkar on other occasions in the past.
Zakir and another man acted as his accomplices. They would each receive a cut from Amir.
Amir pounced on new victims once every three or four days, according to the RAB. He had robbed a Saudi Arabia-based migrant worker using the same tactic in January and another in April.
Although he has never travelled abroad, Amir always carried a passport and luggage with him whenever he went to the airport. Stickers and labels were also attached to his baggage to make it seem as though he had just returned from overseas.
Meanwhile, Liton would hang around the airport area with his microbus, offering to take passengers to different places, including the country's north.
He would then loot travellers by administering anaesthetics to them on the way to their destinations. Liton has also been arrested multiple times.
Addressing their repeated arrests and subsequent return to committing crimes, Moin said Amir has 15 cases related to cheating and robbery against him. But he managed to secure bail in these cases.