Five members of a violent gang were caught red-handed trying to rob a businessman in a police ambush in Yau Ma Tei early yesterday.
The suspected asylum seekers - four Indian and one Pakistani men, aged between 20 and 29 - targeted a 54-year-old owner of a Yuen Long recycling plant at Tung On Street at 6.15am.
The robbers came at him from different directions and one threatened him with an empty beer bottle.
The businessman was reported to be carrying a bag containing cash of more than HK$600,000.
Police, who had been tracking the gang since November, had followed the men to the scene and 20 crime-squad officers were lying in wait to foil the attack.
Officers believe the gang may be linked to three other robberies of recycling plants in Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai in the last four months of last year, from which HK$1 million worth of electronic parts and second-hand phones were stolen.
The gang usually operated in a group of seven or eight men and struck at night or daybreak, police said. "They break through the front door and punch and kick staff members or caretakers before tying up the victims and fleeing with goods in vehicles," an officer said.
While being apprehended, one of the suspects resisted arrest. Officers used batons to protect themselves and gain control of the suspect, Superintendent Kerry Carew of the New Territories North regional crime unit said.
The suspect suffered minor head injuries and was treated at Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei.
Carew said police were investigating whether an inside job was involved. Last night, officers were looking for other members of the gang.