Police praise trio for catching thief

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 October, 2010, 12:00am

Police praised a taxi driver and two other men after they caught a robber who snatched a handbag from a woman and jumped into a cab to escape.

The man was trapped in the taxi when the cabbie stopped in the middle of the road in Tin Shui Wai early yesterday and locked the doors. The man broke out by smashing a window, but was caught by the other men, who were alerted by the woman's cries and gave chase in a car.

Police recovered the handbag and also seized 2.2 grams of an illegal drug, believed to be ketamine, from the suspect.

Officers said the man was linked to another robbery in which a handbag containing HK$20,000 in cash and valuables was stolen from another woman in the area last week.

Yesterday's incident happened at about 12.05am when the man pushed a 30-year-old woman to the ground in Tin Lung Road, then snatched her handbag and jumped into a New Territories taxi to escape.

The woman, with minor injuries to her left hand and back, shouted for help, alerting a passing motorist and his passenger, who followed the taxi. The woman flagged down an urban taxi to follow and called police.

After driving for about 800 metres, the driver of the New Territories taxi became suspicious when he noticed the pursuing vehicles and pulled over in Tin Shing Road near the junction of Tin Wah Road. He locked the doors and refused to drive off. The robber kicked and broke open a car window and climbed out.

At the same time, the pursuing men arrived and caught the robber after a brief chase.

In a follow-up raid at the suspect's home in the same district, officers recovered stolen property linked to last week's case.

The taxi driver and two passers-by were described as good citizens and commended by police for their alertness and courage.

Tin Shui Wai divisional commander Superintendent Wai Hang-mo said the joint efforts of the police and the public in fighting crime were important.

Last night the suspect was being held at Tin Shui Wai police station for questioning.