79-year-old beaten, robbed of HK$470

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 March, 2007, 12:00am

An elderly man who earns just HK$20 a day collecting used cardboard was bludgeoned and robbed of HK$470 in a pre-dawn attack yesterday in Mong Kok.

Bleeding, 79-year-old Yuen Ka-fai was given back HK$20 after he begged the robber not to take all his money, police said.

Mr Yuen had left his Mong Kok flat at about 4am to collect discarded cardboard in the district and was pushing a trolley in an alley off Argyle Street, near the junction with Luen Wan Street, when the attack occurred.

The robber, thought to be aged between 20 and 30, attacked Mr Yuen with a wooden rod at about 4.55am without saying a word, according to police.

'After the attack, the culprit searched the elderly man's trouser pockets and took the money. The victim was given back HK$20 after he begged the robber not to steal all his money,' a police source said.

Feeling dizzy, the elderly man rested briefly and then called police after the robber fled on foot.

Officers mounted a search, but no one was arrested. Police said the robber was wearing glasses and dark clothes. A 45cm-long wooden baton wrapped in newspaper was found at the scene.

Mr Yuen was attended by ambulancemen at the scene before being taken to Kwong Wah Hospital, where he received stitches to his head. He was in a stable condition last night.

'The robber took all my money. I begged him that I needed some money to eat so he gave HK$20 back to me,' Mr Yuen recalled. 'There were couple of hundred dollars. I thought it would be enough for me for the next 10 days.'

Mr Yuen, who lives alone, leaves the flat at about the same time every day on his rounds to collect used cardboard. He makes about HK$20 to HK$40 a day, which supplements his welfare payments.

Officers suspect the culprit was desperate and inexperienced.

'The robber apparently needed money urgently otherwise he would not target a scavenger,' the police source said. 'We believe the culprit had no guts to rob others, so he targeted an elderly man.'

After learning of Mr Yuen's ordeal, a doctor at the hospital gave him HK$500. A Home Affairs Department official who visited Mr Yuen said the government would try to help him move into public housing.