Store owner enlightens thief of Buddha swag bag

Suspect may have struck before at same store, when stolen statues were mysteriously returned

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 April, 2014, 6:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 April, 2014, 6:21am

A shop owner managed to wrestle back a Buddha and an elephant statue after they were stolen from outside his store in Hung Hom yesterday morning.

Phoenix Lo believes the same thief was responsible for the mysterious disappearance of two wooden statues he had placed outside his Thai Tin store, on Chatham Road North, a fortnight ago. They vanished only to be returned two days later.

Lo said he was cleaning the shop at 6am yesterday when he heard loud noises outside.

"I looked outside and saw that the statues I glued to the floor were missing. Then I saw a man with a really big bag. I immediately knew he had stolen them because he was the only one on the street," Lo said. He gave chase and caught up with the thief, who was about 6ft tall and wearing a motorcycle helmet.

"I struggled with him for a few minutes. I had my hands around his neck and tried to choke him. He took off his helmet and then ran away."

Lo said he had put the pair of statues - worth a total of HK$80,000 - outside the store so that people could pay their respects. He is now trying to install an iron gate to protect them in the future.

"The statues were actually glued really strongly to the floor, so there was a very loud noise when the man prised one off the floor. He must have been really muscular," Lo added.

The man was described by the police as 6 ft tall, and about 30 to 35 years of age. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue long-sleeve shirt.

Lo said he recognised the thief as the same man who had visited the store twice in one day last month and had asked prices of statues inside the store.

Lo added: "More than 10 days ago, someone stole two wooden statues I had placed outside my store. But two days after I reported the theft to the police, someone brought them back and put them outside."

Those two statues are worth several thousand dollars each.

The surveillance camera footage at the time had shown a tall man at the scene and Lo now believes it was the same thief who struck yesterday.

Lo only opened the store about two months ago.

No one has been arrested yet.