Not a clean getaway! Cleaver-wielding bank robber foiled by elderly cleaner with mop

Man with gambling debts enters Shanghai bank with a knife, but an elderly cleaner, two guards and two other men end the incident

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 7:11pm


WATCH: Bank robber thrashed by elderly woman with a mop

A cleaver-wielding bank robber who held a teller hostage and stole a bag of cash was subdued by an elderly woman with a mop and other men holding sticks before he could make his escape.

The unidentified 35-year-old man, who ran up debts of about 4 million yuan (HK$5 million) gambling on World Cup soccer matches, ran into the Beicai branch of the Agricultural Bank of China on Hunan Road at lunchtime on Sunday, the Xinmin Evening News reported.

He held a female bank teller hostage and pretended to slash her while demanding money, but was soon beaten to a corner in the lobby by the bank’s female cleaner, 64-year-old Gu Jinfang, two security guards, and two other men.

Footage aired by Shanghai Television showed that the man, wearing a black T-shirt and black cap, took a knife out of his backpack, grabbed Yu Wenjing, the teller, in the lobby and ordered another staffer behind the counter to give him money within 15 seconds.

He dragged Yu to a corner and began several stabbing motions, but released her and rushed to the main door after one of Yu’s colleagues set off police alarms.

The robber found himself trapped as the security guard had locked the door from the outside.

As the suspect threatens an advancing security guard with his weapon, Gu starts thrashing him with a mop and the robber is forced to retreat back into the bank's offfices.

Leading the charge, Gu and the other men try to corner the suspect.

The two guards hit him with a chair and a police baton, and Gu beat him with her mop.

A client of the bank and a passer-by joined in, throwing chairs as the would-be robber was chased by the others. He was overpowered in about three minutes, according to the footage.

“I wasn’t afraid. I followed him wherever he ran,” Gu told Shanghai Television.

Yu was quoted by the News that she was scared at the beginning, but cooled down once she heard the police alarm. “Our bank has trained us to deal with emergencies such as a robbery, so we know what to do,” she said.

The man, who was detained by police, confessed that he had started online gambling from the summer of 2012 after suffering losses in his online game business.

“I lost so much money that I couldn’t remember. I asked for loans from my father-in-law and all other relatives,” he was quoted as saying. “My wife divorced me as a result.”

He passed by a restaurant on Hunan Road, where someone was peeling a vegetable with a knife. He took it and went into the bank.

Each of the five people who helped police detain the hostage-taker have received 20,000 yuan rewards, 10,000 yuan from Shanghai police and 10,000 from the bank.