In a brazen attempt to rob a Manila jewelry store inside the SM Mall of Asia, one of the world’s largest malls, a group of thieves brandishing guns and carrying hammers to shatter the display cases terrified hundreds of shoppers.
Three of the four thieves escaped. One was apprehended by the police commandos who, armed with assault rifles, stormed the mall.
Luckily, despite the gunfire raging in the ten-acre mall, located near Manila Bay in the Philippines, none of the customers suffered injuries.
Office worker Stacy Mercado, 32, told AFP:
We were in the grocery when we heard gunshots. We ran for the door immediately and my wife nearly fell with our 10-month-old boy. The security guards initially blocked us, apparently because they feared some of us would steal items off the shelves on our way out. But they were swept aside after another burst of gunfire.
Erwin Villacorta, district police chief in southern Manila, was interviewed by ABS-CBN and explained, “This is a common tactic. These robbers would go into a shop and start smashing the display cases with a hammer to grab things inside.”
The Interior Ministry of the Philippines has banned the sale of hammers in Manila malls precisely because other Manila shopping malls have been the targets of similar attacks by thieves.
The Mall of Asia is controlled by the family of Henry Sy, the richest man in the Philippines, who is reportedly worth $11.4 billion.