Dealer robbed shop to pay accomplice

AN antique stamp dealer who robbed an antique shop to repay a debt was jailed for 10 years in the High Court yesterday.

Lee Kwong-ming, 40, pleaded guilty to committing the offence on the afternoon of December 4, 1991, at the Collector Antique shop.

His counsel, Mr Hanif Mughal, said the robbery was suggested by a man to whom Lee owed money. The defendant fled to Thailand, but returned voluntarily nearly a year later.

Senior Crown counsel Mr Graham Rhead told the court that Mr Hung Chi-keung, the manager, was working alone when Lee's accomplice entered the shop.

The man produced a pistol and ordered Mr Hung to open the showcases. At that moment, Mr Hung's wife telephoned the shop, he told her of the robbery and she called police. Mr Hung was then pushed into a toilet.

Lee entered the shop and took 71 antique watches worth more than $500,000. He then waited outside.

Meanwhile, a customer went into the shop and was confronted by the accomplice. The customer resisted and a struggle ensued. The accomplice was subdued with the help of Mr Hung.