Bandits cart off GY$13 million worth raw gold, shoot security guard at interior mining camp

Last Updated on Sunday, 3 June 2018, 18:12 by Denis Chabrol

Armed, masked foreign language-speaking bandits shot and injured a guard before carting off 50 ounces of raw gold worth GY$13 million, two guns and other items from a gold mining camp at Black Water Backdam, Cuyuni River, police sources said.

Investigators said when the bandits opened fire, the guard named Stephen Hall, 55 years, of Section B Great Diamond, was shot to his left middle finger. He was air-dashed to a city hospital.

Mining company  officials said the incident occurred at about 12:30 PM and 5 PM on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 by the men who spoke broken English, Portuguese and Spanish.

They told police that over a dozen armed men emerged from the bushes and launched an attack on the mining operation being run by China High-Tech mining company.

At the time of the incident, the General Manager, Zee Rong and security guard Hall, who was unarmed,  were overlooking production when the men attacked them. At the same time, Security Guard Jason Critchlow, who was armed with a shotgun, went to the kitchen to eat. He told police that the robbers held him at gunpoint and ordered him to drop the 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun and six matching cards which they stole.

Two of the bandits approached the office in which employees were located and opened fire. Hall was injured in the process.

The employees told police that the bandits instructed one of the crew members to burn the gold. They then searched the office and a strongbox where the AR rifle and eight .762 bullets  and other items were discovered and stolen. Also carted off were US$500, and two Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.

Sources said the guns and ammunition are the property of Marks Interior Communications.

Prior to the robbery, according to police sources, the gold obtained from a wash-down was escorted to the mining company’s office.

Gold closed at US$1,300.70 on the London Fix on May 30, 2018.

Guyanese police and soldiers , based at Eteringbang, later went to the scene of the crime where they spoke with the victims.

The incident at White Water Mining Camp occurred several months after President David Granger, top military officers and other officials visited  the area and assured them that security would be beefed up there in the wake of concerns that heavily armed gangs known as ‘Sindicatos’ from Venezuela had been raiding mining camps.