Asylum seeker accused of axe-wielding robberies totalling HK$20,000 arrested after ambush
Vietnamese national identified after detectives reviewed more than 60 hours of surveillance footage
An asylum seekersuspected of threatening staff at convenience stores with an axe before fleeing with more than HK$20,000 over an eight-day period this month has been arrested after a scuffle with officers in Tuen Mun.
The 32-year-old man – a street sleeper who was usually seen wandering under flyovers in Tuen Mun and Sham Shui Po – was identified in connection with three hold-ups after a team of detectives pored over more than 60 hours of footage from surveillance cameras.
A police source said the man had been repatriated to Vietnam in 2008 after he was arrested for entering the city illegally 10 years ago.
“He came to Hong Kong again and had filed a torture claim when he was arrested in 2015,” the source said.
Police said the suspect was picked up in an operation under a flyover in Tsing Chui Path in Tuen Mun on Wednesday afternoon.
He tried to run when plainclothes officers, hiding nearby, rushed out.
“After a brief chase, he was stopped but he scuffled with our officers,” another source said.
“He was eventually overpowered and pinned to the ground before being handcuffed.”
The source said initial investigations had linked the man to three robberies between April 18 and 25.
The first case took place at a 7-Eleven store on Shan King Estate, Tuen Mun, at about 2.30am on April 18.
Also robbed were outlets at Shun Ning Road, Cheung Sha Wan, on Sunday, and Boundary Street, Mong Kok, on Tuesday.
No one was injured in the three incidents and about HK$20,200 in total was stolenfrom six cash registers.
In the early hours Thursday, police escorted the suspect – hooded and chained – to a makeshift shelter under a Tung Chau Street flyover in Sham Shui Po as officers searched for evidence.
The man was still being held for questioning on Thursday afternoon.
Detectives from the New Territories North regional crime unit were investigating.
Separately, a 34-year-old man was arrested about an hour after a 7-Eleven store on Hop Yick Road in Yuen Long was robbed of HK$1,800 after a female member of staff was threatened with a knife at about 3.30am Thursday.
A police spokesman said the man was suspected of being linked to three other cases in which convenience stores were robbed of HK$7,000 in total in the Yuen Long area over the past two months.
Police figures show there were 260 reports of robbery in the city last year – a 16.6 per cent rise compared with 223 in 2015.