‘Cowardly’ Hong Kong robbers jailed for attacks on shops staffed by women

Two men, both in their twenties, launched series of nighttime attacks on convenience stores across the city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 August, 2017, 7:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 August, 2017, 10:48pm

A judge on Thursday condemned two men’s “cowardly” spree of nighttime robberies across Hong Kong, targeting 7-Eleven stores manned by vulnerable female staff.

High Court judge Madam Justice Audrey Campbell-Moffat made the remarks before she jailed Choi Ka-leong, 23, and Chan Ka-chun, 27, for 51 months and 56 months respectively, after they pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and one of attempted robbery.

The pair, who at times used a knife for their heists, stole HK$13,580 during the four robberies, which took place between May and June last year.

Chan also admitted one count of dangerous driving, for crashing his car during a getaway.

“Preying on females was cowardly and should not be condoned,” the judge said.

“I accept there was no actual physical harm, but no doubt [the shop workers] would be mentally scarred by your action,” she said.

HK$8 million in contraband cigarettes seized in less than two weeks by customs officers

The court heard the pair began the string of robberies on May 14. They donned sunglasses and surgical masks and stormed a 7-Eleven in Wong Tai Sin with a knife at 3.23am. The lone female shop worker gave them HK$3,000 from the till. They robbed two more stores in Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan about a week later, in a similar way.

On June 11, they robbed a 7-Eleven store in North Point, staffed by a 60-year-old woman.

But that plan was foiled when Choi was caught red-handed mid-getaway by police officers who happened to be nearby when passers-by called for help. Seeing that, Chan, who had been waiting for Choi in a getaway car, tried to drive off but crashed into two police vehicles.

During the police investigation, Choi told officers he and Chan met at a video games arcade. Chan, who was in debt, asked Choi to help him with the robberies.

In mitigation Patrick Tam Kin-yip, defending Chan, said his client had lost HK$100,000 he borrowed from friends after placing his trust in another friend who lured him into a failed investment plan.

He also suggested Chan was only acting as a lookout on the last occasion, during which they were nabbed.

Madam Justice Campbell-Moffat rejected that explanation, adding that Choi was just too “cowardly” to commit the offence alone.

“Your client sat back and let a youngster rob a shop,” she said.