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Sign of the Hard Times: The Enriquez Taxi Cab Group Heist

September 12, 2008

As textbook heists go, it was executed with ‘military precision’: last Wednesday’s robbery at the big central garage of the Enriquez group of taxi cabs in Baesa district of Quezon City.

(Update: New details that have emerged show the gunmen, wearing military-style ‘chaleco jackets and black bonnets, swooped down on the 4-hectare ompound at about 1:15 a.m., swiftly positoned themslves ,at strategic points and herded the taxi drivers to one side of the garage.The heist was all over In just 30 minutes with the culprits speeding away aboard two grey-colored and heavily tinted utility vans.)

My police and taxi driver friends told me how the 15 gunmen were able to enter the garage gate by closing tailing an ‘RE’ cab returning to the compound for the ‘car barn’ deadline of units on the ‘semi-straight’ shift.

At first, the guards did not think much of it “thinking the vehicles were of police following up a complaint involving the vehicle in front.”

Quickly the hold-up men, with their automatic high-powered rifles drawn and cocked, went straight to the dispatcher and cashier’s offices.

Not content with emptying the til from the compound’s four LPG gas stations 91 for each taxi ‘brand) l, they proceeded to get the hard-earned earnings of the cab drivers who had just ‘car-barned’, taking even the hapless victims’ mobile phones.

The daring incident interestingly comes just days before the retirement of national police chief Avelino Razon and don’t be surprised if one of his final acts will be to shake up the leadership of the Northern Police District given the Quezon City is regarded as the Philippines’ car-jacking capital.

The crime is most emblematic of the times in metropolitan Manila where there are even pawn shops for the highly sellable mobile phones and with the Enriquez taxi cabs among the most ubiquitous public transports, rivalling even the colorful jeepneys.

Police authorities are, of course, saying they’ve already identified the crime gangs behind the robbery and you can expect the orange-garbed suspect, duly manacled to be paraded before new cameras soon.

But don’t think for a moment that the larger crime snapshot will improve. I also won’t be surprised if the culprits turn out to be other AWOL soldiers or police men.

Manilans have largely resigned themselves to this reality despite the ever increasing intelligence budgets of both the police and the military.

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