A MAN armed with a shotgun stormed a bank in Lebanon today to withdraw £45,000 of his OWN savings as the country’s economy collapses.
At least five banks were broken into by angry residents on Friday to demand the release of their frozen savings.
Lebanon has faced economic turmoil for more than two years, since its currency began depreciating and banks began imposing draconian restrictions on withdrawals.
In the last week, seven bank branches have been hit by “depositor raids” – prompting lenders to announce a three-day closure, the Association of Banks in Lebanon said.
On Friday alone there were three violent incidents in Beirut and two in southern Lebanon.
A man armed with a shotgun stormed the Ramlet el-Baida branch of LGB Bank in Beirut and reportedly demanded £45,000 from his savings account.
The man has been identified as Jawad Slim – a former contractor and father of seven – who has been unemployed for months.
Slim turned himself in to police after eight hours on Friday night after being promised £13,000 in cash and £30,000 in checks to deposit and withdraw from another bank.
In another incident, a man armed with a gun and a jerry can stormed into a bank in the southern city of Ghaziyeh and demanded that employees hand over his money.
He walked away with about £17,000 in cash – but turned himself in to police shortly afterwards when a crowd formed outside the bank to support him.
Hours later, chaos broke out in the Tariq al-Jdideh neighborhood of Beirut after a man armed with a pistol reportedly demanded access to his locked-up savings to pay off his debts.
The man – identified as Abed Soubra – is said to have demanded £35,000 from his account for days.
In a southern Beirut suburb, Mohammed al-Moussawi told local Al-Jadeed TV that he stormed a branch of Banque Libano-Française and received £18,000 of his money
He said he used a toy gun to threaten bank employees who gave him his money.
And in a town south of Beirut, a man demanded that his money be transferred to Turkey.
He was later arrested after leaving the bank and it was not clear if a settlement was reached.
Last month, a man stormed into a Beirut bank with a gun, holding staff and customers hostage for hours to demand part of his $200,000 in frozen savings to pay hospital bills for his ailing father.
The bank branch attacks on Friday came two days after a woman armed with a toy gun broke into a bank branch to steal $13,000 from her savings account.
She said the money would go toward her sister’s cancer treatment.
The Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the black market in recent years – while poverty and unemployment have skyrocketed.
A protest group called Depositors’ Outcry warned of more break-ins.
“This is a battle for liberation from deposits,” the group said.
As the incidents escalated on Friday, Home Secretary Bassam Mawlawi called an emergency meeting.
Economic turmoil has reached a boiling point in recent months, with the Lebanese pound hitting a new low on Friday.
The crisis had been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and a massive explosion at the port of Beirut in August 2020 that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and caused billions of dollars in damage.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6239751/man-holds-up-bank-with-shotgun-steal-his-savings/ A man holds up a bank with a shotgun to ‘steal’ his OWN £45,000 savings as Lebanon’s economy collapses