Suspect arrested following armed robberies in Chinese shops in Tongatapu

A 23-year-old man of Fangaloto has been arrested in connection to a spate of armed robberies at several Chinese retail stores in Tongatapu this week.

The suspect and an associate allegedly robbed shops in Houmakelikao, Kapetā, Tofoa and Maúfanga starting on Saturday 9 January.

According to Kaniva News, Police said two men wearing masks entered the shops armed with a machete and a piece of metal.

Cash and goods were stolen before the offenders fled in a car, a black Nissan cube, Police said.

A search warrant executed at a residence at Fangaloto resulted in the arrest of the main suspect and the recovery of some of the stolen goods and cash as well as the machete that was allegedly used in the robberies.

“Our investigations team has worked tirelessly over the last three days together with help from the public and the Chinese community to make an identification and gather information.”

“We hope this arrest brings some reassurance to the community, who may have been alarmed by this incident.”

Police alleged the suspect and his associates were involved in the recent spate of armed robberies.

“This spike is in contrast to recent trends over the last two years when only one armed robbery was recorded in 2019. Partnerships between the Chinese community, Tonga Police, and the Community Patrol volunteers have helped to keep these incidents rare and our communities safe.”

Police investigations continue with the search for all other accomplices. Anyone with information that may assist this investigation is urged to call 7401634 or 23713.