Suspect in fatal 1993 bank hold-up arrested

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2002, 12:00am

A man suspected of masterminding a Tsim Sha Tsui bank robbery in which his two companions were shot dead nine years ago was returned from the mainland last night.

Eight other people, including two police officers, were injured in the shootout.

The man, 34, entered the mainland through the Lowu checkpoint after the shootout on September 9, 1993. Police asked Interpol to help trace him.

Public Security Bureau officers discovered the man was hiding in Qingdao, Shandong province, in October 2000 but were unable to make an arrest as he had no fixed address.

The suspect, surnamed Lau, was finally arrested by mainland officers on September 17 this year. Three officers from the Kowloon West Regional Crime Unit flew to Qingdao on Saturday to escort the suspect home.

The gunbattle in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui happened at 10.15am when three men armed with pistols and a knife burst into the Cameron Road branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank and grabbed Hong Kong and American currency worth HK$1.5 million. They were confronted by police outside the bank and 20 shots were exchanged.

Sergeant Yeung Chi-fai was shot in the face and Constable Ma Chak-piu in the left ankle. One of the suspects, Macau resident Chu Chi-kwong, 38, was shot dead.

When the other two suspects reached the junction of Cameron Road and Nathan Road, illegal immigrant Wong Shing, 29, was shot dead. The suspect who was returned to the SAR yesterday, dropped the stolen cash and escaped in Nathan Road.

The money, two 7.62mm pistols and a hoax bomb were recovered.

The two police officers injured in the shootout have recovered and are serving in administrative posts in the force.