Two teenage armed robbers who targeted elderly people were handed stiff jail terms yesterday, with the judge warning that the city's courts would not tolerate such attacks. 'Elderly victims have to be protected when they are going about their business in the early hours of the morning,' Deputy High Court Judge Esther Toh Lye-ping said. 'The interests of the community must be considered.' Tam Man-tik, 18, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery while accomplice Lam Kiu-lap, also 18, admitted one robbery count related to early morning robberies in July last year. The judge jailed Tam for seven years and four months and Lam for five years and four months. Both sentences had been reduced by one-third to take into account their guilty pleas. Another teen, now 16, who cannot be identified because of his age, will be sentenced later this month in connection with his role in one of the robberies. The judge rejected suggestions that the pair should not go to jail because of their remorse. 'You are pushing against a closed door,' she told one of the defendant's lawyers. 'Only in exceptional cases would one think about going outside the general guidelines on sentencing.' Tam, who masterminded the crimes to raise money for his girlfriend's abortion, had 'cased' stores run by elderly shopkeepers, the Court of First Instance heard. In the first robbery, on July 15, Tam and the 16-year-old bought food at a store in Kwun Tong Road and then waited outside for about half an hour before committing the robbery. Armed with a brick, Tam hit a 62-year-old shop owner over the head several times before he and his accomplice escaped with about HK$1,300. The victim needed stitches for head injuries, the court heard. 'The first defendant hit the victim with a brick, which is capable of causing great injury,' Madam Justice Toh said. 'He is very lucky that the victim suffered no more than 11 stitches.' While the shopkeeper had made a full recovery, 'very often the emotional impact may not be so easily erased', she said. In a second robbery, Tam and Lam attacked a 63-year-old man who was working alone at his newspaper shop at about 4.30am on July 17, the court heard. The pair wore surgical masks and caps. Armed with a mop stick, Tam threatened to hit the shopkeeper if he made any noise, 'then suddenly bashed the victim's head with it three to four times', an agreed summary of facts said. The pair took between HK$800 and HK$900. The victim suffered minor injuries.