Fake gun leads to foiled robbery as quick-thinking Hong Kong jewellery store staff subdue suspect in Mong Kok, Asia News

A man who attempted to rob a jewellery store with a fake gun on Thursday fooled precisely no one – at least not for long – as three staff chased him down on the street and recovered more than HK$1 million (S$200,000) in gold.

The 52-year-old suspect, wearing a face mask and carrying a nylon bag, walked into the Mong Kok branch of Luk Fook Jewellery store on Argyle Street soon after 11.15am and quickly went to work.

“He poured volatile solution [suspected to be paint thinner] from a bottle on a display counter in front of two female employees and then drew what appeared to be a handgun, declared it was a robbery and ordered staff to hand over the jewellery,” Chief Inspector Ng Tak-nam of the Mong Kok police station’s crime unit said.

Momentarily stunned, the staff watched as the suspect rapidly shoved gold into his bag, then ran out of the shop. The two minutes it took for the robbery to unfold was just enough time for the staff to reach a conclusion – the gun was not real.

“Three staff decided the weapon looked like a toy gun and gave chase immediately,” Ng said.

After a brief chase, the three intercepted the suspect, who put up a struggle. An off-duty police sergeant then ran over to join the fray before officers from the Emergency Unit arrived.

The chief inspector said the nylon bag contained 188 pieces of gold jewellery and that no valuables were unaccounted for.

One of the staff members was bitten on the left hand during the struggle, and he was taken to hospital for treatment.

Ng said the weapon, which was confirmed to be an air gun, was also found in the nylon bag.

“The suspect is a 52-year-old jobless man. We believe he acted alone in the robbery,” he said.

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Five arrested over $486,800 watch robbery, as Hong Kong protests stretch police

Ng said officers would carry out further investigation to check if he was linked to other recent hold-ups or if someone else had been the brains behind the operation.

As of 3pm, the suspect was being held for questioning.

Ng said it was possible the robbery was an attempt to take advantage of months of social unrest. There was a surge in reports of robbery and burglary in 2019, with the force blaming the anti-government protests for exhausting their resources and forcing them to give up foot patrols.

Separately, police have arrested two members of a gang allegedly responsible for robbing seven night-shift taxi drivers of a total HK$27,000 at knifepoint in Sham Shui Po since November.

The two local men, aged 23 and 26, were picked up in the Kowloon district in the early hours of Wednesday.

Police said three of the cabbies suffered cuts to their hands after putting up a struggle. A police spokeswoman said it was possible the gang was targeting older drivers, as the seven victims were between 55 and 72 years of age. Police were still searching for a third member of the gang.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post

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