Bank robber had fake bomb

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 September, 1995, 12:00am

A BUSINESSMAN robbed a bank of $20,000 armed with nothing more than a small radio speaker.

Lau King-yan, 37, pretended the speaker, wrapped in brown paper, was a bomb and handed a note to a cashier demanding money, the High Court heard.

The note, scrawled on a credit card application form, read: 'Robbery. Have bomb. Demand $50,000.' Prosecutor Dee Crebbin said cashier Lee Suk-han handed Lau $20,000 in cash and he fled, leaving behind the note and the 'bomb'.

The incident was recorded by security cameras and a video of the robbery led police to Lau.

During the raid, Lau wore a cap and sunglasses. Police found similar items when they searched his home.

His fingerprints were found on the demand note.

Lau pleaded guilty to robbing the Standard Chartered Bank, at Shek Wai Kok Commercial Complex, Lei Muk Shue, in Tsuen Wan, at about 3.10 pm on September 9, 1991.

Niall Stirling, for Lau, said his client had been forced to carry out the robbery by a debt-collector employed by his creditors.

Lau claimed his partner in a garment business in China had cheated him and left him with debts of $100,000.

Mr Stirling said the 'loan enforcer' had threatened to harm Lau's family and set fire to his home.

Lau was escorted to the bank by the man. He was frightened and nervous, the court heard.

Mr Stirling said Lau went into the bank a couple of times but could not go through with the robbery.

The debt-collector had then threatened him with a pistol-like object, which he kept hidden beneath his clothing.

Lau finally carried out the raid while in a confused state, the court was told.

Mr Stirling described the robbery as 'amateurish' and said it was surprising it succeeded.

'In my submission this ought not to be classified as an armed robbery,' he said.

Deputy Judge Pang said the victim was not to know the 'bomb' was in fact a harmless loudspeaker.

Mr Stirling said Lau was remorseful and had rejected the debt-collector's attempts to persuade him to carry out other crimes. He had now paid his debts by borrowing $100,000 from banks.

The judge said he would sentence Lau on Monday.