Third resort robbery prompts concern

Third resort robbery prompts concern
March 06 13:17 2016

A third robbery reported from a luxury resort has sparked concern with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party accusing the government of failing to ensure safety and security of tourists.

A group of masked people raided Baa Atoll Reethi Beach Resort in the early morning of Friday and stole two safes. They had tied up an employee on duty at the reception.

The Reethi Beach robbery is the second reported over the past month, and the third high-profile robbery from a resort since 2014.

Last month, a group of seven masked men raided Gasfinolhu, a resort operated by Club Med. Four safes were stolen from the island. A 19-year-old man was arrested.

A similar incident occurred in 2014 when a group of masked men stole a safe from Filitheyo Island Resort in south central Faafu Atoll.

The MDP said: “We are concerned over the continuation of such crimes, and by the government’s failure to launch proper investigations and take steps to ensure safety of tourists.”

A police spokesman said a police team was active on Reethi Beach, but said no arrests have been made yet. He declined to reveal the amount of money stolen from the resort.

The MDP meanwhile suggested links between the resort robberies and a historic corruption scandal involving senior officials of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration. Some US$80million was stolen from tourism leases, according to an audit report.

“Since President Yameen Abdul Gayoom assumed power, theft and robbery have become commonplace both within and outside of the government. The last link in this chain are that people are able to enter private resort islands, tie up people and hold them hostage and leave with their safes.”

The MDP urged the authorities, including the police force, to assure resort owners, tourists and operators that police officers were not involved in the spate of robberies.

The police have dismissed the claim, saying resort staff are often complicit in such incidents.