Foreign couple held for 1m yuan robbery

The incident happened at about 7pm on December 1, and the suspects were caught after five hours.

A foreign couple has been detained in Shanghai for allegedly robbing a foreign exchange dealer of his suitcase containing over 1 million yuan (US$151,000).

Police said the robbery took place about 7pm last Friday and the suspects were caught five hours later.

The dealer, surnamed Zhang, went to a room on the ninth floor of a serviced apartment in the city’s Jing’an District at 7:10pm to meet a client.

Zhang said he didn’t know the identity of the client who called him on Wednesday asking to exchange US$20,000. Zhang said the client spoke “broken English.”

At the door, Zhang called his client by phone and was told “two minutes,” but then he felt someone dashing toward him and his eyes were sprayed with something pungent and his suitcase was grabbed by force.

Zhang called police who arrived on the scene after three minutes. From the surveillance cameras, police soon spotted a foreign man in black and a foreign woman carrying a backpack leaving the building in a hurry at 7:19pm. They were seen walking to a gas station on Wuding Road and getting into a car that they had hired via internet, police said.

They got out at Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall at 7:30pm and resumed walking till Xizang Road M. and Fengyang Road where they got on a taxi at 7:47pm. They were dropped off at a high-rise apartment building on Lingshan Road at 8:20pm, police said.

By 10:30pm, police had uncovered the identities of the suspects, and two hours later, police arrived at the door of the suspects’ rented apartment. 

The couple, who were expecting a food delivery, opened the door and were detained. After a 20-minute search, police found the suitcase under a floor panel by the staircase leading to the upper story of the apartment. 

Investigators found that the suspects had earlier left the apartment to go to a convenience store with a bag at 9:20pm, but the bag was gone when they were seen in the store.

Presuming that the suspects had disposed of the bag with key evidence in it into a river along the way to the store, police in the interrogation room asked if the suspects had thrown a bag of the clothes they were wearing during the robbery into a creek. The male suspect then confessed to the crime.

Police said the male suspect was 23 years old and the female suspect 27, but declined to reveal their nationality.

Zhang is under investigation for illegally dealing in foreign exchange, police said.

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