12 Oct 2004

Cook Islands banks step up security following abduction

4:15 pm on 12 October 2004

The manager of the Westpac Bank in the Cook Islands says a review of security measures is underway in the wake of an abduction and attempted robbery.

Terry Smith says everybody is shocked by the abduction of the ANZ bank manager, Gayle Stapleton, from her home.

She was subsequently released unharmed after her captors attempt to rob the bank was foiled.

Mr Smith says they've taken safety for granted in recent years but not anymore.

"We've certainly brought it to the attention of our staff and also our staff's families. And, asked them just to take extra precautions and to ensure that properties are locked at all times. It's unfortunate that something like this has happened in the Cook Islands but I think all the banks and probably all the businesses have had to strengthen their security procedures."

Terry Smith.

Police say investigations are continuing and are appealing to the public to come forward with any information about the incident and the three suspects involved.