A father of three caught red-handed with a gun on his way to rob a jewellery store was jailed for nine years yesterday. Ho King-wai, 38, a former lift worker, said he was going to use the profits of the robbery to pay off the mortgage on a flat. He admitted under caution that he and two accomplices had planned to rob the Ma Belle jewellery shop on the third floor of Times Square in Causeway Bay. A nearby fire exit was to be wedged open and used as an escape route. But it all went wrong when plain-clothes policemen noticed the trio acting suspiciously in the basement of the shopping mall on June 27. The police caught Ho but his two accomplices escaped. Ho was found with a bag containing a Black Star 7.62 mm pistol loaded with nine rounds of ammunition and a spare magazine containing a further eight bullets. His fingers were coated with glue so he would not leave fingerprints, and there was a rubber door-stopper in one of his pockets, the High Court heard. He was also carrying a second bag stuffed with plastic carrier bags. Ho pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition and another of conspiracy to rob. Defence lawyer Robin Walters said in mitigation that Ho had 'joined the conspiracy in order to save for the family home'. The court also heard that for years Ho had had to provide for his wife, son and two daughters from minimal funds as a back injury prevented him doing anything other than casual labour. Deputy Judge Claire Beeson accepted Ho 'was not the main organiser', that he had provided police with the nicknames of his co-conspirators and that he was willing to give evidence should the police trace the two men, who are still on the run.