Shootout hero tells his dramatic tale

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 12:00am

A heroic constable who wrestled with a gangster armed with a grenade as a deadly gunbattle raged around them has told for the first time of the dramatic 1991 incident.

Yeung Kwok-wing, now working for private security firm Aviation Security, was speaking ahead of a broadcast of a dramatisation of the incident tomorrow at 7.30pm on TVB Jade. It will be shown on the RTHK docudrama series On the Beat II.

Mr Yeung, now 46, was part of a police team that ambushed a group of gangsters in Shui Tau village, Yuen Long, on July 27, 1991. The operation would leave two gangsters dead after 48 shots were fired in a fierce gunbattle.

Police had received a tip-off that 18-year-old gang leader Lo Sai-on, who had escaped police custody, and six accomplices were hiding in a village house.

One gang member walked out with his hands behind his head as if to surrender - but when Mr Yeung approached to arrest him, the gangster revealed a grenade he had been hiding. Mr Yeung fought the gangster to the ground and held on to the grenade to prevent him pulling the pin.

Senior inspector Tsang Hung-lit ran over to help as other police officers and the rest of the gang started a gunbattle, firing shots just above the three men's heads.

All three men had their hands on the grenade as Mr Yeung and Mr Tsang tried to persuade the culprit to surrender.

'I asked for his name and family background to divert his attention away from the grenade. I told him that I wanted to at least know who my son had to target for revenge in case I died,' Mr Yeung said. But the culprit would not let go and the potentially deadly wrestling match went on for 20 minutes.

'I was thinking of my wife and my son. I told myself that I could not just die like that. I thought hard for ways to control him.'

Mr Yeung then lied and told the gangster that he had been shot and it would be easy to hold him hostage and let Mr Tsang go, since his colleague had a newborn baby to care for.

The gangster finally agreed and Mr Tsang retreated. As the gangster tried to drag him into the house, Mr Yeung pushed him away and tried to shoot him. At this moment senior constable Chan Wing-fu shot the culprit from the roof of the adjacent house.

Mr Yeung ran for his life, the grenade exploded and the gangster was killed. Lo, the gang leader, was also shot dead in the gunbattle, and other gang members arrested.