The Australian police on Tuesday arrested eight teenagers in connection with a series of violent armed robberies targeting taxi drivers, including Punjabi cabbie Harpreet Gill (30), in Melbourne's western suburbs.
The youths, aged between 14 and 18, including a girl, were arrested
after a series of police raids on Tuesday morning.
The teenagers are expected to be charged with offences such as armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, assault and property damage.
Police superintendent Rick Nugent said the suspects' age was shocking as was the violence of their alleged crimes, according to local media reports.
A taskforce was set up on Monday to probe the robberies. Most of the offenders are expected to face a children's court, once charged.
Investigators from the taskforce raided four properties in the western suburbs after a briefing at Sunshine police station about 6.30am.
Five cabs were targeted in 90 minutes starting midnight on Sunday, the police said, adding that a group of seven males, using stolen cars and wielding baseball bats, were responsible for the attacks.
Gill was driving his taxi through Sunshine suburb when his car was rammed from behind and a second car pulled up in front of him. Gill said he handed over his mobile phone and about 150 dollars (Australian). He was then punched in the face, which caused cuts to his nose and lips.
"It was terrifying. I was too scared. I don't know how to describe it," he added.
Sunny Singh said one of his drivers suffered a deep gash to his head and another was badly shaken when he had cash and phone stolen. Both assaults happened in Sunshine.
"We have to put a stop to this, nobody wants to work the night shift any more, they are just too scared to drive," Singh told The Age on Monday.
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