MIRI: Highway robbers operating along the Pan-Borneo Highway in northern Sarawak have struck again.
This time they hijacked a three-tonne truck laden with crates of beer near the Lapok bazaar while the vehicle was on its way to deliver a consignment to Long Lama town, some 350km inland from here on Thursday.
The truck driver of the Miri-based beer supply company lodged a police report at Batu Biah, the nearest town from the site of the hijacking.
The driver said that at least 10 thugs were involved in the hijacking of the lorry.
Police have so far arrested a man.
It is learnt that the state polices highway patrol and the mobile district police have been alerted and are now on the hunt for the rest of the suspects.
The robbers blocked the road and forced the driver out.
They did not harm the driver but told him to get RM18,000 if he wanted to see the goods again.
Miri Police Chief Asst Comm Abang Abdillah Abang Othman could not be reached for confirmation that police had recovered a lorry and part of the stolen goods near Marudi town, about 200km from here.
Highway hoodlums had in the recent past hijacked cargo delivery vehicles ferrying rubber-sheets, oil palm products and even construction materials and timber logs, and robbed passengers travelling along the networks of roads branching out from the Pan-Borneo Highway.
An incident that caught the public attention happened three months ago when gangsters in a car along the highway chased a Roman Catholic priest from Bintulu to Miri for half an hour. Reverend Father Philip Chua managed to outspeed the thugs and sought help from villagers.
The 250km-long highway from Miri to Bintulu spans five rural and sub-rural districts.