Two jailed for pet shop holdup

TWO men who stole eight pedigree puppies from a Wan Chai pet shop and then attempted to sell some of them within hours of the raid were yesterday sent to prison.

Sentencing Lo Ping-leung, 25, to 61/2 years' jail and Lee Wai-kwong, also 25, to 51/2 years, Deputy Judge Cheung said in the High Court that the three men had rushed into the shop brandishing a toy gun and manhandled the staff.

While the gang only used a toy air pistol and no pellets, the fear it caused to the victims was the same as if it had been a real firearm, said the judge, also sending Koo Man-hui, 20, the third man involved in the robbery, to a training centre.

The trio had pleaded guilty to a joint charge of robbery and Lo also admitted another count of possession of an imitation firearm.

The court heard that the three men bought a toy air pistol before they went to the President Pet Shop in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, at about 6.30 pm on June 23 last year.

They threatened the four people in the shop and forced one of them to open the till and took $400.

Before leaving with eight pedigree puppies, worth more than $70,000, one of the gang also snatched a gold chain worn by a salesgirl.