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DM / People scrambled to scoop up 1,000 and 500 meticais notes
It seemed to be raining money in Maquinino market in Beira on Thursday, when a stolen briefcase stuffed with 600,000 meticais [around US$10,000] burst open scattering 1,000 and 500 meticais notes among the vendors and their customers.
With the notes flying into every corner of the market, people scrambled to retrieve them, ignoring the individual who had just prised open the door of a car outside with a screwdriver and snatched the bag.
“There were three Chinese men. They parked the car and came out with a briefcase, which only had paper in it – the briefcase containing the money was locked in the car. One of the thieves, seeing the Chinese man with the briefcase, snatched it and ran off. But the Chinese men just laughed, and one of them even said “It’s just paper!” and went on into the market,” a witness recounted.
But minutes later, a group of assailants managed to open the door of the car and one of them snatched the backpack containing the money. While they were doing so “the car alarm went off, which caught the attention of the Chinese, who left the market to see what was happening, but by then the briefcase had already been stolen, and one of the robbers ran into the bazaar with it,” he said.
Seafood vendor Alberto Luis said that, as soon as they realised that it contained money, they became anxious. One of them shouted “Dinheiro!”[“Money!”], which drew the attention of the people around about. That’s when the excitement started, he said.
“There was a great stir, like what you see in the movies – people fighting for money in the meat section where they opened the briefcase. It was pandemonium, with vendors losing their merchandise and everything.”
Abilio António, who sells crab and clams, said it was “just like a movie”. “It all started out here. It was double theft from the same Chinese people. It looked like they knew the thieves. They arrived with a briefcase containing papers for deception. But that was not enough to fool the thieves, who first snatched the briefcase containing only paper. The Chinese were relaxed, as if nothing had happened. The bag containing the money was inside the car,” he explained.Source: Diário de Moçambique