Booby-trap sprays dye over robbers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 12:00am

Three armed robbers were stained with indelible orange dye when a booby-trapped cash box containing $2.27 million that they stole from two security guards spewed smoke in Mongkok yesterday.

The cash box was taken when the two Guardforce workers emerged from the China State Bank in Prince Edward Road West near Mongkok police station at about 11.30am.

'The trio - two armed with what appeared to be pistols - ordered the two guards to lie down on pavement at gunpoint and then snatched the cash box and a shotgun loaded with four rounds of ammunition,' said Detective Chief Inspector Chau Kwok-fai of the Kowloon West regional crime unit.

The robbers fled on foot into Portland Street, but the booby trap was activated and emitted orange dye. 'The robbers and cash would have been stained with orange dye,' Mr Chau said. He said the smoke-generating security trigger was designed to activate only if the box was separated from its escorting guard.

A witness said the three robbers scared off a group of dish-washers in a rear alley and washed their hands before fleeing. He said the gang abandoned the shotgun and put the cash box inside a bag before running towards Playing Field Road.

Officers are investigating whether the robbery was linked to previous cash-in-transit robberies. A police spokesman said there were three such cases in the first five months this year and six similar robberies were reported in the same period last year.

Graphic: ROB12XGET