Police said the three were beaten to death overnight after residents of Dhaka suburb Gazipur caught a group of about 10 men who had broken into a house.

A mob lynched three suspected robbers in a suburb of the Bangladesh capital amid a spurt in incidents of mugging, extortion and robbery ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival later this week.

Police said the alleged robbers were beaten to death overnight after residents of Gazipur area caught a group of about 10 men who had broken into a house.

“We rescued one of the robbers from the hands of the mob and sent him to hospital, where he died. The local residents later tracked down another two alleged robbers and killed them before we could intervene,” a police official familiar with the situation told PTI.

The incident occurred as newspaper reports said mugging and extortion appeared to be rampant in Dhaka and other major cities ahead of Eid, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan.

Groups of robbers and muggers are active in shopping malls and market places, targeting Eid shoppers, the reports said. Shoppers became victims of mugging while shop-owners and hawkers were targeted by extortionists.

According to a report in the Dhaka Tribune, at least 40 victims of muggings were admitted to state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital in the past three weeks. Over 40 people were admitted with stab injuries, the report said.

The Daily Star reported that some affiliates of the ruling Awami League and corrupt policemen allegedly joined hands to extort huge sums from the capital’s 2.6 lakh footpath hawkers.

“But not until late last month could the hawkers gather the courage to lodge a formal complaint to the police. At a meeting with a city police boss, the aggrieved hawkers got a rare assurance that their case against the extortionists would be entertained,” the report said.

In a separate development, the Commerce Ministry recently asked the Home Ministry to act against police officials who are allegedly aiding syndicates in artificially increasing the prices of essential commodities during Ramzan.