KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Police needed five Black Marias to cart away nearly 300 designer handbags along with 72 bagfuls of cash and valuables confiscated from two units at the Pavilion Residences here linked to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In another hours-long raid at the location by the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department led by Datuk Seri Amar Singh, uniformed and plain-clothes officers were seen making trip after trip to load up the police trucks as media and onlookers watched.
The raid began shortly after 7pm while another continued at the former prime minister’s mansion at Taman Duta where investigators are trying to drill into a 20-year-old safe that could not be unlocked.
The Black Marias began arriving at midnight joining several other patrol cars that carried the initial raiding team there shortly after 7pm.
Police personnel then began to load suitcases and bags, each bound in clear plastic wrap, onto the trucks.
The activity drew more onlookers to join the assembled police and media personnel already at the scene.
When it became apparent that more room was needed, more Black Marias were deployed and by 1am, five of these were filled to capacity with the boxes and bags.
According to Amar in a press conference following the conclusion of the raid, his team confiscated 284 designer handbags and 72 suitcases containing various currencies of an unspecified amount, watches, and jewellery.
“Among these were Birkin and Hermès handbags. Several documents were also seized,” said Amar.
Birkin bags start at US$12,000 (RM48,000) and can go beyond US$200,00 (RM800,000) each.
Documents related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) were also seized from the Prime Minister's Office, he confirmed when saying a total of six separate locations were searched.
Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, is known for her predilection for the exclusive Hermès bags and is rarely seen without one in public.
Amar later clarified that they searched not two but three units there, including one belonging to a Tan Sri whom he declined to identify and whose relationship to Najib is not immediately known.
The senior police official expressed satisfaction with the haul this morning and said their operations at the luxury condominium were complete for the time being.
Amar stressed that his men conducted themselves professionally the entire time, rejecting claims that the operation here and the one still ongoing at Najib’s mansion was tantamount to “harassment”, as alleged by the former prime minister’s lawyer.
“This is a high profile case and as such we need sufficient time to conduct our investigation. I assure you, my officers have executed their duties with the utmost care,” he said.
When asked if police encountered any interference in the course of their investigation, Amar said no.
The raid is part of a larger investigation into the 1MDB scandal.