Witnesses caught in crossfire tell of horror

AS RTHK duty editor Charles Keighley set off for home after his early shift at Broadcast Drive he suddenly found himself caught in the crossfire between the robbers and police.

''A colleague and myself were driving down Waterloo Road towards the Princess Margaret flyover when all hell broke loose,'' he said.

''Suddenly there was a number of loud bangs as shots were fired. Confusion reigned at the scene, cars swerved, people leapt from their vehicles and along with pedestrians ran for cover.

''It was like something out of the wild west as the firing continued for what seemed like ages but for what was in reality only a matter of minutes.

''The exchange of shots between robbers and police occurred as schoolchildren were returning home at the end of their morning lessons. There was panic as people scattered in all directions near the Maryknoll Convent School.

''My own view was obscured by two buses parked directly in front of me but like everyone else I dived for cover on the pavement.

''After the shooting ended I saw one man taken from a taxi and led away in handcuffs by armed police.

''Three vehicles, one of them the taxi, had run into one another on the flyover itself and traffic was backed up in all directions.'' Lorry driver Mr Chan Chi-hing, whose vehicle was used as a shield by the robbers, said: ''I saw policemen jumping out of a vehicle at the foot of the flyover and the next moment I was in the crossfire.

''Then there were the screams and shouts of nearby people . . . it was like a battlefield.

As I was seeking cover, I saw three heavily-armed men passing in front of my lorry and opening fire . . . I heard some bullets hitting my lorry.'' A Ka Wai Chuen resident, Miss Tse Wen-man, said she saw the robbers on Ma Tau Wai Road as they abandoned one of the hijacked cars.

''Two men - one with a long gun - jumped out of the car and shouted to another man in the car: 'Get out. Quick.' The man did not seem to respond and two gunmen passed me and got in a taxi and drove away,'' she said.