Editor: Just another interesting read, a fax received by a Securimax Client Company I worked for at the time.
Fax to: All Securimax valued clients
From: William (Bill) Seddon (Group General Manager)
Date: 15th April 1998
Re: ARMED ASSAULT ON SECURIMAX BASE AT MT HAGEN
l am sending you this communication in response to an extremely misleading and inaccurate report by Willie Palme and published in the Post Courier on the 15th April 1998. The article relates to an armed attack committed on our Mt Hagen complex in the early hours of 14th April 1998.
These one the facts:
Approximately 12 armed men entered our compound at Mt Hagen at about 3.00 am on the Tuesday The group consisted of at least two men armed with .38 revolvers and four armed with SLR rifles probably AR15s.
The base was guarded by a number of guards, in various locations. There were also men manning the operations room and several mobile supervisors operating from the base servicing client response and checking guard postings. These procedures are in accordance with laid down company policy.
The heavily armed rascals overpowered one guard in the dog compound threatening to kill him if he yelled. They then took out another guard at another location in a similar fashion. A guard at the rear of the premises tried to go to the front gate to raise the alarm but was seen by one of the armed men, he escaped the compound to in order to raise an alarm elsewhere.
Meanwhile the control room on hearing gunshots at about 3.06 am detected the offenders in the compound and notified all the Securimax mobile and static units of the attack. They also immediately notified police, Regional Manager (R M) and myself.
The R M who lives close to the Police station attended there and had to wait whilst police obtained manpower and firearms. (they were not issued a firearm anymore because too many have been last!). The Regional Manager then drove the police to a location about 300 meters from the base where they alighted and joined another police vehicle with their arms. The R M continued to try to enter the base and was twice fired on. I arrived at 3.30 am picked up an armed police man from their group outside the Hagen Coffee premises. I drove to the base gate and broke through with the vehicle at 3.36 am just after the rascals fled through the front gate unchallenged by the police.
I point out the following newspaper report inaccuracies:
There was no gun battle at the base between rascals and the police. I believe an unarmed police unit was fired on about ten past three and retreated as they should have should have under the circumstances.
There were many guards on duty at the base and in the vicinity as well as approximately 30 resident guards living in the compound.
The amount stolen totalled substantially less than half the reported K800,000 headlined in the article and included a substantial number of cheques.
Mr Matthew Minock Regional Police Commander was quoted as saying "There is really a problem with Securimax, because large amounts of money are continuously being stolen from their hands." This absolutely false and a distortion of the truth. Mr Minock in a conversation with me today denied having made such an inflammatory statement.
We are completely unaware of any security supervisor from our own or any other company being wounded by police in any shoot out related to our robbery and all our inquiries thus far lead us to believe the report is false.
No 'large amount of money" or any other amounts have been stolen from our actual possession in Mt Hagen in over five years. We have not been the victim of an armed robbery from any of our branches or suffered a major loss in any other centre as the result of an armed hold-up in over two years.
Securimax has been waiting for over five months for a decision by the constabulary and the Police Minister for more than twelve firearms licence applications for branches including Mt Hagen. We do not say that we could have thwarted the attack in these circumstances given these additional firearms, but certainly it may have given us a chance or at least an option.
The Securimax strong room withstood a concerted attack from four men equipped with oxy acetylene gear and crow bars for over twenty minutes before they were able to force entry to the strong room and attack the safes. It was previously agreed in consultation with the police, that fifteen minutes would be the maximum time the branch would have to withstand any such attack before a significant police response. This of course has proved to be inaccurate. We have always held the belief that with the police station only two minutes away that we could expect an adequate and armed response from police within this fifteen minute tune frame.
The police were notified well prior to the rascals actually cutting into the strong room. The truth is the general duties were at that time unarmed and undermanned. This is a deep concern to not only us but all residents of Mt Hagen. The rascals actually spent over thirty five minutes inside the base.
Securimax are a professional organisation and carry full insurance indemnifying our clients from loss. Our security requirements are constantly reviewed and we have learned from this incident. We will take what ever action is deemed appropriate or necessary to better secure our clients property and the safety of our workers.
No member of the press or the Post Courier has contacted either myself or my Regional Manager regarding verification of any of the details of the printed story. We will demand a complete retraction of this libellous and inaccurate fairy tale from those concerned, as I can only view such a report as a deliberate attempt to damage the reputation of the Securimax group.
Securimax has the greatest respect and admiration for the police in their efforts on our behalf and at the same time recognise the lack of funding and equipment that has a detrimental impact on their performance.
It is obvious to us now, that the law and order problem throughout the country is of such a magnitude and given the lack of funding and resources available to the police, that all legitimate security organisations should be given the arms and equipment necessary to protect their operations and their work force from such attacks as the one we have just endured.
We are offering a reward of up to K1000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the major offenders or recovery of money.
I thank you all for your continued valued support and confidence and invite anyone with any concerns with our operations to contact me direct.
Regards and best wishes, W. A. Seddon
© Copyright 2001-2006 Peter Salmon and other web site content contributors. All rights, whatever they may be, reserved.