Bravery awards for officers in AK-47 shootout
By ANDY GILBERT
IT was like a scene from The Godfather, according to one of the police officers commended yesterday for his part in the Nathan Road shootout with a gang brandishing AK-47 sub-machine guns.
The gunfight, during which a nurse was shot dead by one of the gang, shocked the territory and prompted calls from some members of the force for the re-introduction of the death penalty.
More than a year later, nine officers of the Kowloon West Emergency Unit involved in the shootout were awarded commendations by Police Commissioner Li Kwan-ha.
Eight received the Commissioner's Commendation for courage and devotion to duty, while Sergeant Lui Kai-man also was presented with the higher honour of the Governor's Commendation for showing impeccable leadership qualities.
All nine were constables when the incident took place in the crowded Nathan Road, Mongkok, on January 6 last year.
Three men, believed to be illegal immigrants from the mainland, hijacked a taxi and ordered the driver to go to the Tse Sui Luen Jewellery Company where an armed robbery took place.
One man was caught on amateur video firing indiscriminately at pedestrians as he stood guard outside the shop. His bullets killed nurse Fung Wai-lin and injured Constable Lee Kin-ming.
A subsequent car chase to Kowloon Tong by four officers, including Sergeant Lui, resulted in a shootout in which one of the robbers was fatally wounded.
Also honoured were five officers who conducted a highly dangerous undercover operation which led to the arrest of 19 people on 31 counts of drug-trafficking.