Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Pattaya Jomtien
    Posts
    58,774

    'Pink Panther' Tokyo heist suspect extradited to Japan

    'Pink Panther' Tokyo heist suspect extradited to Japan

    Rifat Hadziahmetovic is escorted out by local officials upon his arrival in Tokyo


    An alleged member of a gang of international jewel thieves known as the Pink Panther gang has been extradited to Japan from Spain over a 2007 robbery in Tokyo, reports say.

    Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 42, from Montenegro, is suspected of involvement in the theft of a tiara and other jewels from a jewellery shop in Tokyo.

    He was being held in Spain in connection with other charges.

    The gang is said to have up to 200 members, many from former Yugoslavia.

    Mr Hadziahmetovic is accused, along with another alleged Pink Panther member, of stealing a diamond tiara worth 200m yen (£1.5m; $2.3m) and other jewels from a store in Tokyo's upmarket Ginza district.

    The Pink Panther gang has been blamed for raids on some 120 luxury shops in more than 20 countries - as far afield as the US, Japan, Switzerland and the UAE - over the past few years.

    Interpol has been co-ordinating the work of several police forces to try to catch the gang's members.

    Police say the Pink Panthers have a less formal structure than most gangs, but can be ruthless, with links to murders and drug trafficking.

    They are known for the creativity of their heists, using bicycles to escape through the heavy Tokyo traffic in the 2007 robbery, and a speedboat for a robbery in southern France.


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Pattaya Jomtien
    Posts
    58,774
    Pink Panthers is the name given by Interpol to an international jewel thief network, named after The Pink Panther series of crime comedy films, which is responsible for some of the most audacious thefts in criminal history [1]. They are responsible for what have been termed some of the most glamorous heists ever, with their crimes being thought of as "artistry" even by criminologists.[2] They have targeted several countries and continents, and include Japan's most successful robbery ever amongst their thefts.
    Interpol believes that the group are responsible for US$130 million in bold robberies in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco. They are believed to be responsible for the robbery of the jewellery store Harry Winston in Paris, on December 9, 2008. The thieves escaped with more than 80 million worth of jewellery.[3]


    Raids

    Interpol has said it believes the group of about 200 thieves come from the city of Niš in southern Serbia. However, other sources say the gang is suspected of having at least sixty members, around thirty of whom are thought to be from Montenegro.[4] Several gang members are former soldiers with violent pasts.[2] They are fluent in many different languages and possess passports which have been given to others.[2]

    In 1993, the gang first came to attention and earned the nickname "Pink Panthers" following the theft of a £500,000 diamond from a jewelers in the Mayfair area of central London in the United Kingdom.[2] The thieves hid the diamond in a jar containing face cream, mimicking an act seen in the original Pink Panther film.[2] In May 2005, Graff, a diamond specialist in London, was targeted by Pink Panthers and lost a total of £1 million in jewellery.[5] Three white men were suspected of being behind the theft; one was in possession of a firearm.[5] Graff had been targeted in 2002 and lost £23 million on that occasion, £3 million of which had been recovered two years later.[5][6] One of the thieves was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in July 2004.[6]

    In the space of six years during the twenty-first century, the Pink Panthers have robbed 120 stores in twenty different countries.[7] Dubai, Geneva, Japan, London, Monaco, Paris, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have all been targeted by the gang.[2][7] Their attention to detail has enabled this high rate of success. Before robbing a jewellery store in Biarritz, the gang covered a nearby bench in fresh paint to deter anyone from sitting on it and seeing them in action.[2]

    The gang is also known for its daring escapes and attempts to break into their chosen store. They robbed a jewellery store in Saint-Tropez in 2005 wearing T-shirts emblazoned with flowery designs then made their escape on a speed boat.[2] Prior to one 2008 robbery of Graff jewelers in Dubai, eight gang members drove a pair of limousines through a window, taking watches and other items worth a total of £8 million.[2] In a further robbery, four gang members dressed themselves up as women in December 2008 before breaking into France's Harry Winston jewelers in Paris.[7]

    The gang escaped the store, carrying over $100 million (£60 million) in items.[7] There is growing speculation that the $65 million heist August 6, 2009 of an exclusive London jewelry store was the work of the same group. A key element in the speculation is that the men who looted Graff Diamonds on New Bond Street Aug. 6 made no effort to hide their faces, suggesting that they had been able to alter their looks with "Mission Impossible" style prosthetic make-up. [1]

    [edit] Arrests

    The thieves have been identified and linked through DNA matching according to Interpol leader Ronald Noble.[8]

    In 2005, two men and one woman gang member from Serbia were arrested in Belgrade.[9] In October 2007, they were sentenced to jail terms by a court in Serbia for the theft of the Comtesse de Vendome necklace, worth approximately £15 million ($30 million), from a Tokyo jewelry boutique, in what was Japan's biggest ever jewel robbery in March 2004.[9] The gang leader was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment whilst the other two were handed lesser sentences.[9]

    Three Pink Panthers from Serbia were declared guilty of robberies carried out in Biarritz, Cannes, Courchevel and Saint-Tropez by one court in Chambéry in 2008.[2] Two were given jail-terms of six and ten years.[2]

    One suspect, a Montenegrin-national traveling on a forged Bulgarian passport, was arrested in March 2009 by Cypriot police at Larnaca International Airport.[10][11] He is due to serve a sentence in Cyprus for travelling on a forged passport before being extradited to Spain.[12]

    On 20 June 2009, French police in Monte Carlo detained another three members of the gang seen loitering near jewellery shops in Monaco.[7] The gang members drove up outside a casino in Casino Square on 18 June 2009.[2] The men were told to lie down and were then handcuffed before being whisked away from the scene quickly.[2]

    One of the three arrested, Dragan Mikić, is of special interest to the police investigation.[4] He is from Serbia and is on the Interpol's "Most Wanted" list,[2] possibly being a senior member of the Pink Panthers. Mikić has been on the run since 2005 after breaking out of jail via a ladder whilst other people fired machine guns at the prison.[2]

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •