Armed Bandits Target Samsung Factory in Brazil

Around 20 armed bandits held workers hostage at a Samsung Electronics factory in São Paulo, Brazil, on Monday and stole roughly 40,000 smart devices. There were no casualties, but the stolen merchandise was worth an estimated W6.5 billion (US$1=W1,012).

According to Samsung and foreign media, the bandits were armed with automatic weapons and commandeered a staff transport bus to get inside the factory. They ambushed the vehicle on a road leading to the plant and boarded by force around midnight as it was carrying eight Samsung employees to work for the night shift. They stole their employee ID cards and held two of them hostage during the trip to the factory. The remaining six were held captive at another location but eventually released.

The bandits overpowered security guards and locked up 50 on-duty employees in two buildings. They confiscated the staff's mobile phones so that they couldn’t call for help and forced guards to stand outside as if nothing unusual was happening. Three hours later, they left with six trucks full of laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones. Not a single shot was fired during the heist.

Police are examining closed circuit television camera footage to identify the criminals and questioning staff to determine if there were any accomplices among them. Police believe the robbers may have had inside help since they had detailed knowledge about the plant's layout.

The neighborhood where the heist took place is also home to plants owned by General Electric, HP and Dell -- earning it the nickname "Silicon Valley of Brazil." But Samsung's smart devices were targeted due to their small size, portability and high price tags.

The region is no stranger to theft. In 2012, 425 incidents of theft occurred there, while that number increased to 657 last year.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 09, 2014 10:04 KST