Staff foil raid on Mahjong parlour

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 12:00am

A bizarre robbery attempt failed after a man wearing a plastic bag over his head and claiming to have a pistol was overpowered by employees at a mahjong parlour in Hunghom yesterday.

The Tai Loi parlour had just opened for business at noon when a man, 50, entered by the back door. He wore a red shopping bag on his head and shouted that he had a gun in the bag in his other hand.

He warned the employees to get down on the floor and not move. All he wanted was money, he said.

At first, the 10 employees thought he was joking, telling him to sit down and play the game. 'Don't fool around. Let's play mahjong,' one of them said.

But they realised he was serious when he hurried to the cash register and tried to get at the money.

Seven employees closed in on him, attacked and forcefully subdued him. There were no customers inside the parlour, in Ma Tau Wai Road, at the time.

The man was arrested by police after being discharged from hospital. They are still investigating the case.

Robberies at Hong Kong mahjong parlours were extremely rare, said an employee who works at the 30-year-old parlour.

The last one occurred in November 2000 when two balaclava-clad men armed with pistols burst into the Tai Wing Wah Mahjong School in Bute Street, Mongkok.

The pair fired four shots into the ceiling before robbing customers.

More than 40 customers fled into the street, leaving an unknown amount of cash behind, which the robbers took.

No one has been arrested over the incident.