Mahjong raid foiled by worker

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 1995, 12:00am

AN armed masked gang which raided a mahjong game and robbed 29 people in a midnight attack was foiled when an employee ignored their threats and escaped to call police.

The restaurant in Shamshuipo was quickly surrounded and the gang arrested, the High Court was told yesterday.

Sentencing Cheung Ming, 29, to 51/2 years' jail for his part in the raid on July 6, 1989, Deputy Judge Bokhary said the robbery was 'large scale and organised'.

The court had been told that five men, all with stockings on their heads, stormed into the Sun Ho King restaurant when a watchman opened the door to let a customer in.

One of the gang had a pistol and three had melon knives, the court was told. Cheung was unarmed.

One of the men held a knife to the watchman's throat and yelled 'robbery'. They marched him to the first floor where a game of mahjong was in progress.

They demanded that everyone at the table squat on the floor and take out their valuables. The victims were frisked, and their valuables locked inside a briefcase.

On the second floor, another mahjong game was interrupted and more people stripped of their belongings.

Meanwhile, occupants of the second floor were being herded upstairs to the main hall. A few of them tried to run upstairs and escape, but they found themselves face to face with another armed robber who marched them back down to join the others.

The court was told one of the restaurant employees surprised the gang by scooping up a chair while yelling 'robbery'.

He was quickly overpowered by the armed men.

But another restaurant worker, Leung Kim-fai, managed to break free and escaped to call police.

He ran down a rear staircase and through an emergency exit to the management office. There he woke the caretaker and called the police.

Cheung jumped bail and fled to Canada. But he later gave himself up and pleaded guilty to robbery.