Bank gunman suspected of three other holdups

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2007, 12:00am

Crime-squad officers are investigating whether a gunman who escaped with HK$33,000 from a bank in Tuen Mun yesterday was involved in two attempted robberies in Yau Ma Tei and a holdup in Pat Heung on Wednesday.

The gunman, wearing a face mask and cap, posed as a customer and queued at a counter in a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on the Tai Hing Estate at 3.50pm yesterday. When he got to the front of the queue, he brandished what appeared to be a handgun and demanded money from the teller.

'Speaking in Cantonese, the robber demanded large denomination banknotes and ordered the teller to hand over money quickly,' a police investigator said.

The man, thought to be aged between 30 and 40, ran out of the bank after being handed a wad of notes. The teller then pressed the alarm. The robber fled in a silver-coloured car that had been parked outside the bank. The holdup took less than a minute.

Police officers set up roadblocks and launched a manhunt, but no one was arrested. The fugitive is about 1.7 to 1.8 metres tall and wore a light blue windbreaker and dark jeans.

Officers from the New Territories North regional crime unit are investigating whether the same gunman was behind the attempted robberies at Yau Ma Tei pawnshops - carried out in Shanghai Street within 15 minutes of each other - and the holdup in Pat Heung, where a man fled with HK$17,500 from a Jockey Club betting centre.

The descriptions of the robbers and their methods were similar in all four cases.

'We are keeping an open mind. Officers are viewing closed-circuit video footage,' an investigator said.