‘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
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.
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.