Assalamu alaikum (peace be upon you). How are you, brother?
Dear readers, if you are moving on the streets of Dhaka on a rickshaw, these sweet words of Muslim salutation may not be always be coming from a decent person to greet you.
Instead, they may be from a group of snatchers who might have been following you for quite some time, sensing you have money, a mobile phone or other costly items with you.
Recently, some groups of snatchers have been active in the capital under a unique banner–"Salaam Party." They rob a victim of all their expensive belongings at their convenience.
Police learned of the existence of the Salaam Party, in the city, after a team of Bangshal Police Station arrested nine members of two snatcher gangs and interrogated them.
According to police, the party has five gangs operating in different places of the city with a separate leader for each. Gang members roam in groups, by rickshaw, in search of passengers who also move by the three-wheeled vehicles.
When they find a target, they start following him or her. They intercept the passenger's rickshaw at a convenient place for them and say salaam to the victim.
One of them starts playing the rickshaw-puller and quarrels with the passenger over fare so that people around do not realise what is really happening.
Amid the hullabaloo, others threaten the passenger with fake pistols and take away his or her costly items. Afterwards, they immediately flee the spot.
Shahin Fakir, officer-in-charge (OC) of Bangshal Police Station, told The Business Standard that five ringleaders are running the so-called Salaam Party in the capital, and every gang has five to 10 members.
Members of these gangs are active in: Sadarghat, North-South Road, Babu Bazar Bridge, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Rampura, Badda, Kamalapur, and Gulshan Link Road, said the police officer.
Recently, police arrested a ringleader named Palash.
According to sources, Palash revealed four names to the police–Nasir, Shahid, Shohag, and Porash–of those who are running their individual gangs in different parts of the city.
These snatcher groups are very cunning, according to police.
OC Shahin Fakir said the gang members do not use sharp weapons as they know about the country's law related to the use of sharp weapons.
"They know it will be easier to obtain bail from the court if they are arrested while stealing without using sharp weapons," he explained.