It was a daring Robbery in albania when passengers in an Austrian Airlines plane witnessed a gang of armed robbers flee with nearly $11m in cash. The staff were loading the money into the aircraft that was going to Vienna when the gang struck. Police jumped into action, and there was an exchange of gunfire in which one of the robbers died. The identity of the dead man is established. He broke out of prison in Greece with a group of Albanians in 2013. However, the authorities could not recover the cash.

Sky News reports there were five robbers and they gained entry to the area by using a van to smash through an airport fence of wire and iron. They adjusted their timing to coincide with the moment when the cash was being loaded onto the plane. The estimate of the loot could be around €10m ($11m) but the authorities have not confirmed this. Police said the robbers are still evading arrest and are on the run.

The robbery brings up many issues

This is the second time in three years that robbers have targeted such a crime at Tirana airport.

Police have discovered burned-out remains of three vehicles from three different locations. The robbers could have used them in the heist. Defense minister Olta Xhacka wants the military police and a special air forces battalion to tighten the security of the airport. She says the government would "no longer allow the security of citizens and the country's image to suffer." There were passengers on the plane but they were not in danger and the plane bound for Vienna finally took off after considerable delay.

It seems a Hong Kong-based company runs the Tirana airport and ministers of the Albanian government have blamed them for the incident. Sky News adds that one of the ministers says the "security mechanisms, which are under the concessionary's responsibility, have not functioned". The defense minister also echoed similar sentiments but the Hong Kong-based company, China Everbright said it was the responsibility of the police to protect the airport because it does not belong to China.

The work of a masked gang

According to BBC, the daring daytime heist was the handiwork of a masked gang. They had prior knowledge of the huge amount of cash loaded onto the plane headed for Vienna. Passengers were on the Austrian airlines Airbus and were waiting to leave Mother Teresa airport when they saw the gang in action. They approached security police wielding AK-47 rifles and entered the plane to steal the cash.

The action lasted for a few minutes. The gang held up the guards, forced open the plane's cargo doors, loaded their vehicle with the cash and fled.

However, they encountered a police patrol and opened fire. In the exchange of fire, one of them, suspected to be the gang leader, died. The robbers took advantage of the banking policies of the country because its central bank does not accept deposits of hard currency. Therefore, some locally-based foreign banks transfer foreign currency to Austria via planes.

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