Police rescue three hostages in armed robbery at bird's nest shop

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 12:00am

Police broke up an armed robbery at a bird's nest shop in Western District yesterday, arresting five men after a brief hostage incident.

But a search later revealed that about $800,000 worth of the highly prized nests were missing.

A police spokeswoman said: 'We believe some accomplices managed to steal the bird's nest before police arrived.

'We believe someone may have been waiting in a getaway vehicle outside.'

The policewoman added that there were no witnesses.

Armed with knives and an air-gun, five men burst into the Queens Road West shop at about 9.30am, according to police.

The men then tied up the female owner, 53, a member of staff, 50, and a 42-year-old friend with adhesive tape and pushed them into the toilet.

But one of the trio had managed to hit the silent alarm beforehand, the police spokeswoman said.

'According to the shop owner, some of the men called out: 'This is a robbery.' It gave one of the victims enough time to hit the silent alarm,' she said.

Officers were involved in a brief standoff with the armed men before officers arrested the five men and seized three knives and an air-gun.

Police were last night interviewing five men, who were all two-way permit holders from the mainland aged between 18 and 32.