x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Stay away, don’t try to play with us: Dubai Police tell Pink Panther gang

“I tell the Pink Panther gang, better stay away from our area. Don’t try to play with us, we’re not playing,” says Dubai Police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina at a special screening of the film on the notorious jewellery thieves.
A screen grab from CCTV footage taken from a security camera at the Wafi shopping mall in Dubai of a smash and grab jewellery heist by the Pink Panther gang on April 15, 2007.  Courtesy - Dubai Police
A screen grab from CCTV footage taken from a security camera at the Wafi shopping mall in Dubai of a smash and grab jewellery heist by the Pink Panther gang on April 15, 2007. Courtesy - Dubai Police

DUBAI // Dubai Police worked closely with the production company behind a film about the notorious Pink Panthers jewellery thieves to get the message across that criminal activity will not be tolerated in the UAE.

“I tell the Pink Panther gang, better stay away from our area. Don’t try to play with us, we’re not playing,” said Dubai Police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina in a final statement in Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers.

About 50 members of the gang were arrested across Europe following a robbery at the House of Graff jewellery shop in Dubai’s Wafi Mall on April 15, 2007. The documentary opens with two minutes and three seconds of CCTV footage of the Wafi break-in.

A group of men smashed through the glass facade of the shopping centre in two stolen cars, drove up to the shop, broke through its entrance and stole diamonds worth an estimated Dh14.7 million.

After fleeing the scene, the robbers set fire to the cars in an attempt to destroy evidence. However, Dubai Police were able to recover DNA from the crime scene and arrested two Serbians.

“They closed all the windows of the cars. When you close the windows, there’s not enough oxygen [to properly ignite] the fire, and we found all the evidence in the car. We immediately knew this was a crime by the Pink Panther gang,” Maj Gen Al Muzeina says in the documentary.

Maj Gen Al Muzeina attended a special screening of the film yesterday, which was shot in 2011 and released last year.

Farida Al Shamali, from the Forensic Sciences and Criminology Department of Dubai Police, added: “It’s not easy for anyone to commit a crime and not leave evidence.”

The documentary, made by Roast Beef Productions, follows police forces from France, Switzerland and Dubai in the hunt for the gang and gives the audience access to gang members Mike and Lela, who reveal the gang’s networks and history.

The movie, directed by Havana Marking, is set to be adapted into a feature film by Danny Boyle, the British Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire.

Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers has played across the world and has featured in international festivals including those held in Dubai, Amsterdam, Dublin, Finland, Britain, Vienna and the US.

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae