As Eid-ul-Azha is knocking on the door, operatives of “molom party” (gang of muggers who put ointment or other substances on victims' eyes causing temporary loss of vision) are becoming active across Chittagong city and surrounding areas, according to police.
Targeting cattle markets in the city and district, molom parties have spread their net.
Police have arrested three members of a molom party from a makeshift cattle market at Aziz Colony of Bangla Bazar, under Sadarghat Police Station yesterday. The arrestees -- Md Manik, 22; Md Razibul Islam, 20; and Md Abdul Baten, 20, -- had knives, machetes and balm in possession.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) (South) Shah Md Abdur Rauf of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) said that the muggers were roaming in the makeshift cattle market with an aim to snatching money from people carrying cash to buy or sell sacrificial animals.
Police arrested them in front of the cattle market with 10 small containers of ointment and weapons at around 1:40pm, said the ADC, adding that they are professional criminals and are accused in eight cases filed with different police stations in the city.
According to police officials and detectives, around 10 to 12 molom parties are active across the city, particularly at cattle markets, bus and train stations. Apart from that, criminals from outside the city are also arriving during this season.
Chittagong city has eight cattle markets, including two permanent ones, while the district has 215 cattle markets under 14 upazilas, according to police and Chittagong City Corporation officials. Besides, several makeshift markets have already been installed.
Assistant Commissioner (AC) (West) Moinul Islam of CMP's DB said that after arrest, muggers secure bail, get out of jail, and start mugging again.
“We are trying to gather information about the muggers who had been arrested earlier and left jail before Eid, so that we can take actions and stop them from robbing people,” said AC Moinul.
Superintendent of Chittagong Police, Noor E Alam Mina, said that the officers-in-charge of 16 police stations have already been directed to give special focus on muggers and molom parties in cattle markets and crowded areas.
ADC Rauf said that police gleaned some names from the arrestees and would conduct raids to arrest them.
Police officials also urged people to stay alert while visiting cattle markets, and during bus and train journeys.