Getaway driver crashes into police after shop raid in Tsim Sha Tsui
Lookout speeds off after gang members caught breaking into TST shop
Two police officers were injured after a getaway driver sped off when he realised his gang had been caught while breaking into a Tsim Sha Tsui shop early yesterday.
The officers were hit as they approached the car, which was also used to ram an unmarked police car.
The getaway car was abandoned in Hung Hom, but a 40-year-old Hong Kong man was arrested in connection with the crime while trying to cross the border to the mainland at the Lo Wu checkpoint.
He was joined in custody by a Hongkonger suspected of masterminding the break-in and five mainland men, two of them illegal immigrants, picked up at the shop. The seven were being questioned last night.
The two policemen suffered minor injuries.
Police believe the gang was run by a Hong Kong man who recruited mainlanders to carry out thefts. Acting on intelligence, a team of plain-clothes officers lay in wait outside Star House in Salisbury Road before dawn yesterday. The gang arrived in a white seven-seater car just after 5.30am.
"The Hong Kong mastermind acted as their commander at the scene and the five mainlanders worked as lookouts and were to do the ransacking," a senior police officer said. "The getaway driver waited in the vehicle."
Officers swooped when the gang prised open the front door of the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Brand Off on the ground floor of Star House. Nothing was taken from the shop, which sells second-hand watches, accessories and luxury handbags.
After a brief chase, police subdued five mainland men at the scene. Officers picked up the alleged mastermind nearby. Police seized hammers, crowbars, screwdrivers, gloves and face masks at the scene.
That prompted the getaway driver to race off, ramming into an unmarked police car.
Police are investigating whether the gang is linked to other break-ins.
The Taikoo Shing branch of Brand Off lost HK$3.5 million worth of valuables in a smash-and-grab raid in April last year. Three months later, handbags and watches worth HK$1 million were taken from its Causeway Bay outlet.