Armed raider locked up three years on

A TEENAGER who took part in a goldsmith's shop robbery more than three years ago and was arrested when he sneaked back into Hongkong with a group of illegal immigrants was yesterday sentenced to 10 years' jail.

Passing sentence on Fan Chi-wai, 19, Deputy Judge Gould noted that although no shots were fired by the robbers, they aimed what appeared to be pistols at a policeman in their bid to escape. The policeman fired two shots.

While Fan only had a knife, he must thought that guns would be used, and there was a risk that shots would be fired at the public, the judge said.

He took into consideration the fact that Fan was only 16 at the time of the robbery.

Fan had originally pleaded not guilty to one count each of robbery and possession of a firearm at the time of the crime.

But he changed his plea regarding the holdup after the Crown opened its case.

No evidence was offered against him on the second charge.

Senior Crown Counsel Mr Tong Man told the High Court that three men, two armed with what appeared to be pistols and one with a knife, burst into the Sea Hill Jewellery Company in Hennessy Road on May 22, 1989.

They ordered the staff to fill their bags with gold ornaments and fled.

A passing police officer who saw two robbers run out of the shop gave chase and saw one of them get into a car.

This man then pointed what appeared to be a gun at the officer, who shouted a warning before firing two shots. Both bullets missed the robber, hitting the vehicle.

On the directions of a passerby, a knife was found in a dustbin and a palm print lifted from it was later identified as Fan's.

But Fan was not arrested until two years and seven months later on board a Chinese vessel in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, where he was found with a group of illegal immigrants.

Mr Niall Stirling, for Fan, asked the court to consider his youth.

He had no idea whether the pistols carried by the other robbers were real, he said.