A gang of armed robbers dressed in suits and ties escaped with $9 million worth of watches and jewels from a store in Pacific Place, Admiralty, yesterday.
The four men strolled through crowds of lunchtime shoppers before holding up the second-floor Masterpiece jewellery shop at 2.20pm. All were armed with pistols.
They ordered 13 customers inside the shop to lie on the floor, warning they would open fire if anyone moved. They then made shop staff open eight showcases of jewellery and watches, emptying them into black bags.
The robbers escaped through a fire exit near the shop that leads into Justice Drive.
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the three-minute hold-up.
Officers of the Regional Crime Unit of Hong Kong Island were studying security videotapes from the shopping centre last night.
None of the robbers wore masks during the hold-up, police said.
A 63-year-old mainland man was outside the store with his wife and granddaughter during the hold-up, while his 29-year-old daughter and son-in-law were looking at watches inside.
'We looked inside and saw men were grabbing a lot of watches and waving guns,' he said.
'I wanted to go inside but people told me to run away. This is the first time we have visited Hong Kong and it is terrible.'
He said a large team of police officers arrived at the scene just after the robbers escaped.
The man said the incident would not deter him from visiting the SAR again.