Holdup at boutique latest in spate of armed robberies
A man pointed a pistol-like object at the owner of a boutique in Cheung Sha Wan before escaping with HK$3,200 yesterday - the third armed holdup in three days. He rushed into the Un Chau Street shop and brandished what appeared to be a pistol, declaring a robbery, shortly after 12.30pm. 'She handed over HK$3,200 in cash as she was being held at a gunpoint,' a police spokeswoman said. The man is about 1.82 metres tall and 40 years old. On Monday, a man escaped with HK$41,000 from a Starbucks in Central after threatening two staff with a pistol. On Tuesday, two men carrying a pistol-like object and a crowbar escaped empty-handed from a jewellery shop in the Peninsula Shopping Arcade in Tsim Sha Tsui after triggering the alarm.
Medical airlifts planned
US-based international medical evacuation service AirMed will start a new service in February ferrying patients from the mainland to Hong Kong's Baptist Hospital. Hospital chief executive Hak Fai-chiu said AirMed will provide services for mainland members, mainly from Shanghai and Beijing, flying them to Baptist Hospital. Dr Hak predicts 10 to 20 patients will be transferred each month.
Police held for loan-sharking
Two police officers suspected of being loan sharks have been arrested in Macau, where a second loan-sharking ring in the security force has been uncovered in less than six months. The officers, aged 28 and 37, allegedly extended credit to at least 18 colleagues on the force, who spent most of the money on gambling. A woman who is not on the force has also been arrested. Since 2005, the ring has extended at least 400,000 patacas in credit and made a 1-million patacas profit.
Britain tightens entry visas
Britain may shorten visas for non-EU tourists from six months to three months to prevent overstaying. Hong Kong passport holders would not be affected by the proposed change, which was revealed yesterday by the British Home Office. Other measures being considered include charging British families a deposit of up to #1,000 (HK$15,000) for every relative visiting from outside the EU.
Pay rises in store at HSBC
Staff at HSBC may get a salary rise of more than 4 per cent next year. The bank announced yesterday that its board agreed to a lump sum in the salary review to keep its packages competitive. A spokesperson said the review was due to the recent economic situation and inflation, and that the salary increase was performance-based and would vary among staff. The new salaries will be effective from April 1.
Dumplings seized from factory
Food hygiene officers raided an unlicensed food factory in Fanling and seized 400kg of rice dumplings, Chinese pudding and steamed buns. One woman was arrested. A Food and Environmental Hygiene Department spokesman said stringent enforcement would continue against unlicensed food businesses.
Digital TV boxes put to the test
Four out of 11 brands of digital broadcasting receivers failed tests carried out by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority. Senior telecom engineer Chaucer Leung Chung-yin said the quality of set-top boxes approved under Ofta's labelling scheme varied even though they had passed the tests, and the public should choose a model carefully.