Yip offers $500,000 in quest for witness

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 October, 2003, 12:00am

Notorious gangster Yip Kai-foon believes a witness could clear him over the 1996 shootout with police that ended his criminal career - and is offering $500,000 to anyone who knows where she is.

But he will only pay up if identifying her results in him being cleared.

Yip was arrested on the waterfront in Western early on May 13, 1996, and later convicted of shooting at police and possessing explosives over the incident, in which gunshots left him paralysed. He is serving a 36-year sentence in Stanley Prison.

The reward is being offered through his lawyers, Andrew Lam and Co.

Mr Lam said last night that a woman passer-by in her 40s had witnessed events leading up to his client's arrest.

Yip did not know the identity of the witness, Mr Lam said, and his client's instruction was to find her in order to 'revoke the verdict'.

The law firm intends to place an advert on behalf of his client stating that Yip would pay a $500,000 reward to anyone who could give information about the whereabouts of the woman that resulted in the overturning of the guilty verdicts on the shootout charges.

In addition to those charges, Yip was sentenced for escaping from custody and kidnapping.

In 1985, he was sentenced to 18 years in jail for firearms offences, and became Hong Kong's most-wanted man after he made a daring escape in 1989 during treatment at Queen Mary Hospital.

With a small group of bandits, the fugitive robbed scores of jewellery stores. He would spray bullets over the heads of shoppers to keep police at bay.

He was recaptured in the shootout after being spotted by chance during a routine patrol. Shots to his stomach and armpit left him paralysed.

In January 2000 he lost an appeal to have his 36-year sentence reduced on medical grounds.

Two months ago he remarried the woman he previously wed under a false name while on the run across the border.