Men in medical masks raid two banks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 October, 2003, 12:00am

One bank was robbed yesterday and there was an attempted robbery at another by men wearing medical masks.

Police do not believe there is a link between the two raids, but in each case the robber threatened to detonate a bomb unless the teller handed over money.

Police originally suspected the same person might be involved in the two raids because descriptions and methods were similar. But after viewing closed-circuit video footage, they discounted this theory.

The first raid happened shortly before 10am when a man wearing a green surgical mask and glasses went into a branch of Standard Chartered Bank in Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon City, and handed a note to a woman teller.

The note said he had a bomb and demanded $50,000.

A police spokesman said the raider produced an object wrapped in newspapers and placed it on the counter. Terrified tellers handed him $12,000. The robber grabbed the cash and fled leaving the object on the counter.

Police evacuated the bank and called in bomb disposal officers, who discovered an empty can and tissue paper inside. Officers searched the area but found no trace of the robber.

About three hours later, another man entered a branch of Citic Ka Wah Bank in Lai Chi Kok Road, Shamshuipo. This robber, wearing a cap and mask, also handed a note claiming he had a bomb.

'The robber carried an object with electric wires in his left hand and demanded $100,000 from bank staff,' a police investigator said.

He picked up the note and fled empty-handed when a woman employee stepped away from the counter and sought help from her manager, who pressed a panic button.

There have been 21 bank robberies in the first eight months of the year, compared with 28 for the same period last year.