Minister congratulates police on arrest of HSBC heist suspects

Justice Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici expressed his satisfaction at the swift police action that led to the arrest of two suspects in the attempted heist on the main HSBC headquarters, on Ruzar Briffa road in Qormi.

Mifsud Bonnici hailed the police officers for controlling the situation during a shootout that took place while the thieves, suspected to be a group of four, were emerging from the bank as their operation was foiled. The minister also underlines the importance of a continued cooperation with financial institutions.

Two men were charged with the attempted murder of two police officers yesterday and the attempted heist at HSBC Bank’s Operations Centre in Qormi. They were remanded in custody after the Magistates’ Court refused their request for bail.

Daren Debono, 33, born in Pietà and residing in Marsaskala and Vincent Muscat, 48, born in Birkirkara but without a fixed address, were charged with aggravated theft, the attempted murder of police constables Kenneth Ciangura and Kurt Gauci, and firing a firearm in an inhabited area. They were also charged with the aggravated theft of a Glock pistol from police constable Domenic Bugeja, and holding PC Bugeja, Jesmond Muscat and Ivan Azzopardi against their will and threatening them with murder.

They were also accused with the illegal possession of firearms in Qormi, stealing of their getaway cars and registration plates, and relapsing. The two men pleaded not guilty to the charges present against them in Court.

he defence called on the Magistrates’ Court to grant bail to the accused. The prosecution, led by Police Inspectors Joseph Mercieca, Keith Arnaud and Anthony Portelli objected to the defence’s request, insisting that the two men were accomplices, and that there was a minor that was still expected to testify.

In his submissions on bail, Joseph Giglio, who appeared for Debono, insisted that the minor was in fact a 19-year-old man, Josef Terribile, who had even stolen twice from his father and was therefore not credible. On his part, Chris Cardona, who appeared for Muscat, associated himself with Dr Giglio’s submissions. He added that since Muscat’s workshop, where he worked as a sprayer, was closed to Terrible’s residence, Muscat was ready not to go to his workplace until Terrible had testified. Muscat was also ready to live in a house in Cospicua until the court proceedings were concluded.

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