Hit, hit, hit and run: owner of burning car arrested after three Hong Kong shops rammed within an hour

Police source says crashes appeared to be planned as the car, later found on fire on a flyover, was seen passing by each shop beforehand

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 10:45pm

Police have arrested the 29-year-old owner of a car which was dumped and burned after it smashed into three shops in Tsim Sha Tsui within an hour on Tuesday morning.

Officers reviewed CCTV footage and detained the owner of a silver, seven-seater Toyota car that was left burning on a flyover off Austin Road West at 4.43am.

It was not clear if the owner of the car was driving it at the time of the incident.

A police source said a bumper of the vehicle had been dented and that it was suspected to be connected to damage inflicted on three shops nearby.

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“The car owner, who was in Guangzhou, said the car had been stolen,” the source said. “Before he left the city, he parked the car in Fanling on Sunday and gave the key to a friend.”

“CCTV footage showed the car was driving around the area and passed by the shops some moments before the incidents took place,” the source added. “The crime appeared to be planned. We suspect the driver abandoned the car and set it on fire after crashing into the shops to try to destroy evidence.”

It is understood the vehicle licence was missing when the van was found, but its key was still there.

The driver was picked up by another vehicle that helped him flee the scene.

At 3.52am Tuesday, the suspect was driving the van along Haiphong Road at a high speed when it rammed into the gate of a chemist shop. The collision destroyed the gate, and the goods in the shop were scattered on the ground.

Around 13 minutes later, the van rammed into a men’s clothing store on Peking Road. The store’s glass door was completely smashed.

Then, at 4.39am, it crashed into a shoe store on Hankow Road. Four minutes later, the police received a report of a car burning on Austin Road West.

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The shops belonged to three different owners and remained closed.

“We are looking into a motive behind these incidents as the shops had no connection at all,” the source said.

The cases were treated as arson and criminal damage. An investigation by Yau Tsim Mong District crime squad is underway.