Bank robber threatens customer with a knife

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am

A bank robber threatened a woman customer with a knife during a holdup in Kowloon City yesterday.

The woman, 50, was the only client in the To Kwa Wan branch of Citic Ka Wah Bank in Ma Tau Wai Road when the robbery happened at about 1pm. Three employees were on duty but there was no security guard.

A man wearing a cap and gloves entered the bank and placed a glass bottle on the counter. The bottle was wrapped with tape and its opening was stuffed with cloth, giving it the appearance of a Molotov cocktail, police said.

'The culprit threatened to set it alight with a cigarette lighter when demanding money from bank staff,' one investigator said.

'As the female teller reacted slowly, he drew a butcher's knife from his bag and took the customer hostage by pointing the knife at her chest. He shouted at the teller ordering her to move quicker and demanding large denomination notes.'

The teller threw money on the counter and the robber ran out with HK$19,000. He left the bottle, which police said was empty.

The woman was unhurt.

A bank employee called police, who searched the area but no one was arrested. The investigator said the robbery lasted for about one minute and the culprit appeared to act calmly.

The Cantonese-speaking man was about 30 and 1.67 metres tall. He wore a blue T-shirt and dark jeans and carried a brown and white bag.

Detectives from Kowloon City police station are investigating whether the case is linked to an April 14 robbery in Sham Shui Po in which a robber threatened a man, 72, with a pistol and stole HK$49,000.

According to police figures, there were no bank robberies in the first three months of the year. There were 17 in the same period last year.