SECURITY installations at the Chow Tai Fook goldsmith shop angered robbers and endangered the lives of staff and customers, witnesses said yesterday. Five shop staff were pistol-whipped and beaten with a hammer while more than 10 customers were held at gunpoint by robbers held up by the showcases and an electronically controlled gate. The gang escaped with $6 million worth of gold and jewellery. Security guard Mr George Maiza, 55, and a member of staff, Mr Lo Tat-kin, 34, sustained head injuries from hammer blows and were admitted to Queen Mary Hospital in satisfactory condition. Their colleagues, Mr Chan Sun-sheung, 45, Mr Chan Shun-wah, 37, and Mr Ho Wai-hong, 25, sustained bruises and were treated at Tang Shiu Kin Hospital and discharged. A representative of the staff, Mr Donald Wong, said the masked robbers rushed in and threatened to shoot anybody who got in their way. They made customers kneel and staff stay still behind showcases. Mr Wong said the shops had installed new showcases that were sealed to allow only one hand to take few items out at a time and a 1,000-kilogram gate controlled electronically. The measures were introduced on the advice of the shop's insurance company after a robbery in April last year. ''The robbers were limited to snatch a few items out of the showcases at one time, and they got infuriated, beating us from time to time,'' Mr Wong said. ''They then tried to leave after ransacking shelves for more than 10 minutes but could not open the heavy gate. They got really fed up and beat us again until one of my colleagues managed to grasp the device and open the gate. ''The new security measures had actually endangered people,'' he said. ''This time it was lucky they did not shoot or pull the pin of a grenade,'' Mr Wong said. One customer, Miss Carrie Chan, 25, said she was having a necklace done up when the robbers, masked with stockings and speaking Cantonese with an unfamiliar accent, rushed in at about 1.45 pm. Miss Chan said the shop was then quite busy, with 20 customers inside. ''I was very scared that they were going to hurt us,'' she said. Then she managed to slip through the gate, which suddenly opened and closed again, and hid in a boutique next door.