BELMOPAN, Mon. Feb. 1, 2021– On Monday evening, around 7:00 p.m., three armed men entered the home of a Belize City council tax collector, Nan Cheng, and staged a horrifying home invasion which was caught on camera. The chilling crime, which has left the family traumatized, occurred in a residential area near the American Embassy in Belmopan. The three culprits are believed to be of Hispanic descent.
Surveillance footage showed three masked men breaking into the home of Cheng and taking his youngest child, a 1-year-old toddler, hostage, before proceeding to subdue Cheng’s father, 66-year-old Mark Fa Ling — brutally fighting him until they pinned him to the ground. The culprits, armed with machetes, knives, and an ax, proceeded to force Cheng’s oldest child, an 8-year-old, to lie face-down on the ground.
Reports from the family are that the men’s intention was to kidnap the baby. They also tied up the family inside a room before ransacking the house and stealing a firearm and some jewelry, according to police.
“From the initial information we gathered was that the accused persons, or home invaders, had the residents of that premise hostage, and so we surrounded the house with the hope that the suspects were still inside, and after a couple of hours outside we decided to force our way in, and when we got in, we only found the residents, and the suspects were no longer there,” Commissioner of Police Chester Williams informed reporters.
Commissioner Williams had arrived at the scene of the crime while the home invasion was believed to still be in progress. He said that the report given by the family, that the home invaders had escaped before the police arrived, was not consistent with the information first given to police. The police stayed on the scene until about midnight and did a search in the general area to try to find possible suspects, but were unsuccessful.
The motive for this violent home invasion has still not been ascertained, although, as mentioned, the perpetrators did steal a firearm and some jewelry from the house. Police said that an official report was made by Nan Chen. Her father, seen being attacked in the surveillance footage, received a stab wound and an injury to his head.
Police are continuing to investigate this incident. This is the the most recent of a string of violent crimes to occur in the city of Belmopan. Last week, a man, Roger Russel, was stabbed during a robbery. Also, last Friday, a well-known and loved community grocer, Abel Bardalez, was killed during an armed robbery at his establishment.
During an interview with the media, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that the situation in Belmopan is under control and that police are currently implementing crime-fighting strategies in that area and across the country with a view to reducing incidents of violent crimes.