A LONE rookie policeman who shot dead an unarmed burglary suspect yesterday has been criticised by his commander for not calling for back-up before he tried to make an arrest. Lam Chi-ming, 31, whose criminal record included three cases of burglary and one of robbery, wrestled with Constable Tam Chun-yip, 20, from a ninth-floor corridor to a sixth-floor staircase of Cosmopolitan Centre in Nathan Road before a shot was fired. Lam, who was shot in the chest, was certified dead on arrival at Kwong Wah Hospital at about noon. A dishevelled and blood-spattered Constable Tam was admitted to the hospital in fair condition. He underwent an operation to remove a metal fragment from his left hand and received treatment for injuries to his back, right leg, left eye and head. Police said that at the time of the incident there was another male constable and a policewoman on routine work in the building on different floors. The drama unfolded shortly after 11.30 am when Constable Tam, on patrol outside the building, received a complaint from an unidentified man about something suspicious happening on the ninth floor. The officer apparently did not report the incident to colleagues before going into the building. He took the lift to the ninth floor, where he saw the suspect climbing through a window. The suspect ignored the constable's request to stop and a struggle ensued, police said. 'The struggle lasted from the ninth floor to a staircase landing between the sixth and seventh floors,' said Acting Chief Superintendent Fung Kam-wong. 'At that point the man managed to take out a pair of handcuffs from the constable's handcuff pouch. 'He was also successful in handcuffing the left hand of the constable. 'We imagine the man was trying to handcuff the constable to the railings of the staircase.' The constable then drew his revolver. 'The man tried to grab the revolver and again there was a fierce struggle. 'One shot was fired,' Mr Fung said. Police said they had not established whether it was the constable or the suspect who squeezed the trigger. After the shot, Constable Tam reported the incident through his beat radio. The other male officer in the building said: 'I heard a gunshot and immediately ran down from the 11th floor. 'When I reached the staircase between the sixth and seventh floors I found the suspect lying on the staircase, suffering from a gunshot wound.' Mr Fung said Constable Tam lacked operational experience and should have reported to other colleagues before going into the building. 'The constable is very young and very inexperienced,' said Mr Fung. 'He has been in the force for only about two years. 'In normal practice, he should have informed his two other colleagues, who were on routine duty in the building. 'Experienced officers will call for reinforcement before going up.' A sixth-floor resident, Fan Sau-ngor, said: 'I heard a big bang from the rear staircase around 11.30 am. I thought it was a blast in an electric wire box. 'When I went out of my flat I saw a uniformed police officer pointing his gun at someone, who I could not see. 'His uniform was very dirty. It seemed he had been rolling on the ground before and he was in a very shocked state,' she said. Police said Constable Tam had no chance to pull his emergency assistance cord during the struggle. Detectives did not find any weapons or break-in equipment on the suspect, who was wearing a pair of yellow plastic gloves. He had $90 in a pocket. After inspecting the scene, police said they believed that a ninth-floor unit could have been burgled but they were unable to contact the occupant.