Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Police search Neihu park again for missing money

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A man, surnamed Ko, who found some of the money from the First Commercial Bank heist, and his son, with face masks, are surrounded by reporters at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday.

Photo: George Tseng, Taipei Times

Law enforcement officers were out in force yesterday in Sihu Park (西湖公園) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), searching for more of the missing money from the First Commercial Bank (第一商業銀行) automated teller machine (ATM) heist.

Hours after investigators on Wednesday found a black bag containing NT$12.63 million (US$393,949) in a search of the park, a 65-year-old man, surnamed Ko (柯), told police that he had also found NT$4.54 million in a bag in the park on Wednesday morning.

However, the unusual manner and strange circumstances of Ko’s find aroused investigators’ suspicions, and Ko and his son were summoned yesterday as witnesses for questioning at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

Prosecutors said it was necessary to verify the exact amount of Ko’s find, to determine if he had kept some of the money and how he had found it, among other questions.

Ko reported his find at a local police station 13 hours after he said he stumbled across the money in the park.

When questioned by prosecutors, Ko took a NT$1,000 note out of his pocket and said it had also come from the bag he found in the park, which raised questions as to whether he had kept more of the money that he had found.

Police officers escorted Ko back to his residence yesterday afternoon to conduct a search of it and then took him to Sihu Park show re-enact his movements and explain where and how he found the bag of money.

Criminal Investigation Bureau staff said they could not rule out the possibility that Ko had known the exact location of the money and tried to recover it before police searched the park on Wednesday.

Heist suspect Andrejs Peregudov told investigators that he had left two bags with money near a hiking trail in the park.

Yesterday’s search of the park found no trace of the remaining NT$5.86 million from the NT$83 million heist.

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