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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Karate newsagent challenges thief
Mohammed Afzah
Mr Afzah demonstrates his karate technique
A knife-wielding robber met his match when he tried to steal money from a shopkeeper trained in karate.

The man ran into the Edinburgh shop owned by Mohammed Afzah, 39, a former bodyguard for the prime minister of Pakistan, and demanded money.

Mr Afzah immediately adopted his martial arts stance and shouted "I'm ready - come on" at his assailant.

The would-be thief turned on his heels and fled empty-handed from the shop during the raid at 2100 BST on Sunday.

Mr Afzah, who was born in Pakistan, spent eight years in the country's security police.

I stepped out from behind the till and assumed my karate attack position
Mohammed Afzah
Shopkeeper

He was trained in hand-to-hand combat and anti-terrorist techniques before becoming a police bodyguard in Lahore.

He was tasked with guarding politicians and VIPs, including then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his official residence.

Mr Afzah said: "The guy ran into my shop and shouted 'give me the money, give me the money'. At first I thought he was joking until he pulled out a kitchen knife and told me to hand over all my takings.

"I stepped out from behind the till and assumed my karate attack position while I shouted 'I'm ready, come on then'.

"He was waving the knife about so I moved towards him with my hands positioned to disarm him like I had been trained in the army."

Cult hero

Mr Afzah, who had been cashing up about 500 in his Stockbridge Newsagent shop in Deanhaugh Street, shouted at the robber to get out - and the terrified raider was only too happy to oblige.

Mr Afzah, who left the police nine years ago, added: "I was trained in many aspects including how to take a knife from someone before turning it on them. Fortunately I didn't have to put this into action."

The shopkeeper said he would not encourage people to take the law into their own hands, but said he was inspired by the actions of Glasgow Airport baggage handler John Smeaton, who became a cult hero after helping the police.

Mohammed Afzah training in Pakistan
Mr Afzah and his colleagues during his police training

He said: "I would do the same again although it's the first time I've had to put my training into practice in this country.

"I have so much respect for John Smeaton and the other guys who stood up to the terrorists in Glasgow.

"They showed so much courage and were protecting their property, in their case it was their country though which was incredibly admirable."

Police are now studying his shop's CCTV footage in the hope it identifies the attempted robber.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "We want anyone who was in the area at the time, or who saw the man running away from the scene, to contact police."

The suspect is described as being white, about 6ft tall, aged between 30 and 35, with short brown hair and an Edinburgh accent.

He was wearing a short-sleeved black shirt, black trousers and light coloured shoes.


SEE ALSO
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