An increase in armed hold-ups of armoured cars has forced security companies to pinpoint high-risk locations in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Security Association, which is co-ordinating the review of blackspots, has joined the growing chorus of concern over the ready availability of high-powered pistols. Association chairman Ted Devereaux, who is also Asian regional manager of Securicor, said: 'We are very concerned about the number of armed attacks over the past year. 'Hong Kong has strict gun laws but also a very open coastline, making it very easy for people to bring in weapons. There is no doubt, weapons such as the very powerful Black Star 7.62mm pistol are readily available in the city.' Mr Devereaux said operational staff were working closely with police to catch the armed bandits involved in eight attempted attacks over the past 14 months. Most cases are believed to involve triad 'foot-soldiers' brought over from the mainland by a Hong Kong mastermind to carry out the job, he said. Except for two cases, all attacks were foiled by the latest cash-in-transit technology involving 'smoke-and-dye' boxes. 'Once triggered, the cash box flares with intense heat and pumps out smoke and dye, staining the cash and skin of anyone in contact with the box,' he said. Mr Devereaux said all security companies involved with cash operations across Hong Kong had ordered the top-level assessment of high-risk locations.