Four gunmen seized a cash box with about $1.85 million and three Remington shotguns from security guards in a Tsuen Wan commercial centre yesterday.
Three security guards were pushing a trolley with the cash box on top to HSBC on the first floor of the Fou Wah Centre in Castle Peak Road, when they were ambushed.
'When the lift doors opened, four robbers pointed their pistols at the guards and ordered them to squat,' a police officer said.
'The bandits snatched the cash box and three Remington shotguns and then pushed the guards back into the lift. One of robbers pressed a button and it took the guards to the third floor . . . The robbery was well-planned; it took less than a minute.' The security guards alerted police when the lift stopped on the third floor.
More than 100 police officers threw a cordon around Fou Wah Centre and neighbouring blocks, including a multi-storey car park.
The officer said the cash box, containing $1.7 million and US$20,000 in cash, was neither chained to the trolley nor fixed with a smoke-generating security device, which has foiled a number of robberies in the past.
On December 17, 1998, three men threw a cash box with $1.5 million out of a taxi in Kowloon Bay when the box gave off red smoke.
Last night, officers surrounded a residential block in Tai Kok Tsui but found no trace of the gunmen.
Police were investigating whether the gang was linked to other cash-box robberies.
In January, three gunmen snatched bags containing $1.5 million from an armoured van outside Liu Chong Hing Bank in Nathan Road.
In January, 1997, two cash boxes containing $2.3 million were taken in two incidents within a week in Tsuen Wan.
Anyone who witnessed men carrying a cash box and shotguns or who has information should phone 2527 7177 or 2631 8436.