By Alfred Sasako
MARTIN Boliko is no different from any other young man engaged by one of the many security firms in Honiara.
Similarly, last Saturday (June 9), was no different either in terms of his daily security routine, at the Hyundai Mall where the 27-year-old Boliko is stationed.
Situated in Central Honiara, next to the main market, the Mall is usually busy with Honiarasiders looking at new clothing displays in speciality shops on the first and second floors of the seaside building.
Saturday is usually busier than on week days as bargain hunters from all walks of life mill around in search of discounts from speciality shops.
With at least four entries into the building including through the lift, it is Boliko’s routine to check that all is well.
Last Saturday was no different.
That day, Boliko’s day began with checking other work colleagues spread throughout the Mall, a multi-storey building which houses a commercial bank, office suites and speciality shops. By mid-morning, something of a commotion had broken out in the Mall’s car park.
It was a broad daylight robbery as four teenagers tried their luck on the unsuspecting shoppers. This time it was shoppers’ vehicles that were the target.
Boliko from U’ra village in Central Kwara’ae on Malaita left his colleagues inside the building immediately and headed for the car park where the loud noise from the commotion was coming from.
There, he saw two of his security men, engaged in a heated argument with someone who was allegedly trying to get away in a stolen car, a white Caldina station wagon.
The driver of the vehicle, who was some distance away, according to Boliko, was shouting that someone was driving his vehicle away without his permission.
“When I got there, the only thing that came to my mind was to close the gate boom gate. That’s what I did. I left my colleagues to engage the four people in the car and sprinted the 10 or so metre distance.
“As soon as I got there, I let down the boom gate so that no cars could get out,” Boliko said.
What later unfolded to him was that a Rav4-look-alike Suzuki, which parked in the car park that morning, had been broken into. A large bag, said to have contained some cash and a mobile phone were allegedly removed from the Suzuki.
Hunched in the back of the alleged get-away Caldina were two young girls. Two boys were also in the vehicle – one who was attempting to drive the car away, the other on the passenger seat.
Police later picked up four young people – two young girls and two boys. It is not clear whether any charges had been laid. It is also not clear whether any of the young people allegedly involved was armed.
A large crowd of curious on-lookers booed as the four suspects were thrown into the back of a police vehicle and driven away. The Caldina was also taken to the Central Police station, driven by a police officer.
Boliko’s heroic act may have saved police hours, sometimes days, of futile investigations to apprehend suspects.
It was the first time youths have staged a daring day-light robbery at the Hyundai Mall.