A 72-year-old woman selling ice cream in Sha Tin was admitted to hospital yesterday after she was attacked by a man she was trying to talk out of killing himself. The incident occurred at a bicycle path close to the junction of Yuen Wo and Sha Tin roads shortly after 1pm yesterday. Police sources said the street vendor was selling ice cream and cold drinks from a pushcart and spotted a 26-year-old man who was holding a box cutter and behaving strangely. As the woman started talking to the man and approached him, he attacked her with his box cutter. The woman was slashed around the head and fell to the ground and the man then beat her. Three witnesses at the scene - two men and a woman who initially thought it was part of a staged television prank - watched the man beat the woman for about three minutes. He then stole about HK$170 in cash from the cart, as well as some ice cream snacks and drinks. The man then began eating a tub of ice cream near a construction site before being scared off by a security guard, who also called the police. The witnesses heard the guard shout at the man and realised what they had seen was not a prank. They chased him for 20 metres before he was caught. Police arrived and arrested the man. No charges have been laid, but the suspect was being detained. The woman was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital in critical condition, but has since improved to stable. She suffered multiple head injuries. The latest available police statistics show there were 1,327 robberies in the first 10 months of this year, down 3.4 per cent from the same period in 2005.