Tight security as gangster has surgery

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 July, 1999, 12:00am

Convicted gangster Yip Kai-foon yesterday underwent an operation to remove a urinary bladder stone at the same hospital he escaped from a decade ago.

More than 20 armed police officers with bulletproof vests escorted paralysed Yip from Stanley Prison to Queen Mary Hospital early yesterday morning for the operation.

Yip, 37, escaped from the same hospital in 1989 before he was recaptured in a police shootout in 1996 that left him wheelchair-bound.

A Correctional Services Department spokesman said Yip had to be sent to Queen Mary as the hospital service at Stanley could not carry out surgery.

He said the operation was a planned one and not because Yip was suffering from any acute problem.

The cost of the operation would be paid by the Government.

Yip is serving more than 36 years for escaping from custody, kidnapping, shooting at police and possessing a potentially devastating haul of explosives.

He escaped during a visit to Queen Mary Hospital in August 1989 for examination and treatment, and was put in a general ward because the custodial ward was full.

A Queen Mary Hospital source said Yip had undergone surgery to remove a small bladder stone.

'Surgeons inserted an instrument which works like a nut cracker. It gets to the bladder and crushes the stone into small pieces. Doctors can then easily wash the pieces out of the body,' the source said.

'His stone was very small and the operation quite simple.

'If the stone was not dealt with, it could have grown bigger and bigger and would cause infections and bleeding.' The source said Yip was in good shape apart from his lower limbs.

'His upper body is actually quite strong, but as he is paraplegic, his lower part has been shrinking.' Dr Andrew Yip Wai-chun, chief of urology at Kwong Wah Hospital, believed Yip's paraplegia was the main cause of his urinary bladder stone.

'Bladder stone is a common problem among paraplegic and bed-ridden patients as they cannot urinate normally.

'Urine will accumulate in the bladder while long-term use of urinary catheters will often cause bacterial infections.

'All these will easily form stones,' he said.

'The chance of stone reoccurrence will be as high as 50 per cent.'