AN armed fugitive and his crippled Korean hostage were holding hands minutes before they were gunned down by police bullets, an inquest heard yesterday. Kang Sang-bo, 31, was comforting his captor as the gunman and his three hostages sped towards Aberdeen in a hijacked taxi. 'The man with the crutches said 'don't be scared',' said hostage Ku E-suen, 18. 'The Korean then took out a tissue to dry the sweat coming from the culprit. Occasionally, the Korean held the gunman's hand, telling him not to be afraid.' All three hostages were still trapped inside the vehicle when police opened fire, Miss Ku said. The teenager said she managed to escape when her fellow hostages began wrestling the gunman for control of his weapon. The terrified girl ran straight to a policeman, begging him to shelter her from the flying bullets. 'He ignored me,' she said. 'I asked him to take me to a safe place but he did not.' Miss Ku ran and hid behind a lorry, where she stood listening to the gun fire. 'Then I heard a police officer saying that the culprit had been hit,' she said.YEAREND Kang died with his captor when a police bullet pierced his skull. The hostage drama began around midnight on October 13. Police with guns drawn walked down Queen's Road Central looking for Cheung Cho-yau, 23, who had pistol whipped a young woman and then robbed a policeman of his revolver and radio. Miss Ku was standing in front of a telephone booth on Ice House Street when the gunman suddenly came up behind her and grabbed her by the neck. The gunman shoved the terrified girl into a nearby taxi and got in after her. Kang was in the back when the pair burst through the door. The gunman ordered driver Ho Chun-ming, 40, to take him to Aberdeen, where he said he planned to abandon his hostages for a speedboat. When Miss Ku begged the gunman not to kill her, he told her: 'I wouldn't. I just came down to Hong Kong for a few days for fun. My identity card has just been checked by police. I come from the mainland. I ran away because I don't have an identity card.' Cheung took $1,600 from her purse. But he returned $100 when she asked for the taxi fare home. After the vehicle passed Ocean Park, the driver made a left turn and hit a dead end. 'I said to the culprit 'get off here',' Miss Ku said. 'The driver also told him to get off.' But just as Cheung was about to leave his hostages, he spotted the police. 'When the culprit opened the door he noticed some police officers. He immediately closed the door and told the taxi driver to drive away.' The taxi raced through the streets of Aberdeen, smashing through a police road block. It finally ground to a halt when it struck a second road block. Gun in hand, Cheung clambered over both his hostages to the opposite window muttering: 'I'll teach that police officer a les-son.' It was then that he rolled down the window and fired a shot. 'After the culprit fired the shot I no longer believed that I was safe. All I was thinking of was getting away,' Miss Ku said. The teenager slumped down in her seat as answering shots rang out around her. 'There were many shots fired,' she said. 'I was very scared and really can't recall exactly how many.' Suddenly, the Korean pounced at Cheung's hand to win control of the gun. 'The culprit said 'don't be nosey' and pushed him away,' Miss Ku said. Cheung then grabbed the cripple by the hand, yanking him closer. But at that moment Kang finally succeeded in his bid to grab the gunman's pistol hand. Mr Ho twisted around in his seat to help Kang push the gun towards the floor. Seeing her chance to escape, Miss Ku threw the door open and fled. 'I figured if the gun was not pointing at me I could run away,' she said. The inquest continues before Coroner Warner Banks.