AN unemployed man robbed the same cake shop twice within 24 hours, the District Court heard yesterday. Lai Chun-kau, 39, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to two counts of robbery. Prosecutor Jenny Fung said the first robbery occurred at 8.55 pm on January 27 at Maxim's Cake Shop in Hong Ning Road, Kwun Tong. Shop workers Hui Yin-chung and Yeung Yim confronted Lai when he tried to go behind the counter. Lai produced a 30-centimetre knife and demanded cash. He robbed the store of $5,000 - and four cake coupons - before ordering Ms Hui to tie up her colleague with nylon string. Lai then tied up Ms Hui and pushed both workers into a storeroom. They later freed themselves and reported the robbery to police. The second robbery occurred the following day at the same hour. This time Lai, armed with an 20-centimetre knife, took gold ornaments and $410. He pointed the knife at the waist of shop worker Fu Chui-kuen and ordered her colleague Cheung Suen-chu to keep quiet. Ms Cheung Suen-chu, who was on the phone to manageress Cheung Sai-fan at the time, dropped handset on the floor which aroused the manageress' suspicions. Ms Cheung Sai-fan alerted the police who intercepted Lai as he was leaving. Two officers subdued him after a brief struggle. Lai admitted to police he had taken the knife from his home to commit the robbery. Judge Gould, sentencing Lai, said a knife was displayed in both robberies, but not used. In mitigation, Lai's solicitor R. P. Sabaratnam submitted the sum involved in the robberies was not large, and Lai had spent it on drugs. A probation report, however, said Lai had spent the money on gambling. Judge Gould said he would not inquire into conflicting explanations because neither of them were justification for robbery.