Thief steals diamond worth HK$5 million from jewellery shop in Hong Kong hammer heist

Robber flees and changes his clothes inside nearby toilet after committing theft in just seven seconds – the first at 3D-Gold store since it opened in 2011

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 11:25pm

Seven seconds was all it took for a masked robber to smash open a display window with a hammer and make off with a diamond ring worth HK$5.26 million from a jewellery shop in one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts on Friday.

After the smash-and-grab raid, the man ran into a nearby alley and entered a toilet where he threw away his cap, sunglasses, gloves and face mask and changed into different clothes and shoes before fleeing, according to police.

Police were still searching last night for a non-Chinese man who was last seen wearing a flower-patterned jacket, red shirt, light-coloured trousers and red shoes.

“Initial information showed the stolen ring was the most expensive item in the display cabinet,” a police source said. He believed that the raider had targeted the ring before he struck.

The raid happened in the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of the 3D-Gold jewellery chain on the ground floor of Hai Phong Mansion on Nathan Road near Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station shortly after 11am.

“A man wearing a face mask and a hat used a hammer to smash the display window and snatched the ring before fleeing on foot,” a police spokeswoman said.

Watch: How the robbery happened

One witness said the robber fled before staff ran out.

An online video showed the lone culprit took just seven seconds to steal the ring.

It showed he hit the display window six times to break it and then grabbed the ring, leaving behind the hammer.

The source said the 50cm-long hammer was wrapped in a towel when the robber approached the shop.

“Initial investigations showed the man stopped outside the shop for about 10 seconds before shattering the display window,” he said.

Police later seized a cap, a blue surgical mask, sunglasses, black gloves, a black windbreaker, black trousers and a pair of sports shoes the robber discarded in a toilet inside a tea house off an alley less than 100 metres from the shop.

The source said the culprit hid another set of clothes and a pair of red shoes in the toilet before the raid.

A spokeswoman for 3D-Gold said the raid happened about half an hour after the shop opened.

“[The stolen item] is a 6.6-carat diamond ring,” she said adding that it was the first such robbery in the Tsim Sha Tsui shop since it opened in 2011.

Chief Inspector Lam Chi-yuen of the Yau Tsim district crime squad said the robber was about 1.8 metres tall and of strong build. He asked witnesses to contact officers on 3661 9238 or 6084 1409 if they had any information.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year on January 28, two non-Chinese men made off with more than 30 watches worth HK$1 million from the Montblanc shop in the IFC mall in Central after breaking open the shop’s glass door with a sledgehammer and smashing three glass showcases.

Police figures show there were 260 reports of robbery last year, a 16.6 per cent rise compared with 223 cases in 2015.