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Crime in Hong Kong

Man arrested over HK$23 million smash-and-grab theft at VIP Watch & Jewellery in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui

At least 34 Swiss watches and 39 American-made bracelets were stolen in the 90-second raid on Sunday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 4:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 11:04pm

Hong Kong police have arrested a 27-year-old suspect in connection with a brazen robbery on Sunday in which a gang of thieves made off with HK$23.5 million (US$3 million) worth of jewellery from a store in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui.

The local man was being held on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to rob, according to police. None of the stolen property had been recovered.

A police source said the suspect was apprehended on Thursday inside a hotel room in the northwestern town of Tin Shui Wai.

At about 10.30am on Sunday, three men emerged from a seven-seater car on Lock Road and burst into VIP Watch & Jewellery at the nearby corner of Hankow Road and Haiphong Road. A fourth suspect remained in the vehicle.

The trio made their way to the shop via an alley between Lock Road and Hankow Road.

Once inside the store, one robber struck a male employee with a retractable baton, as another threatened customers and staff with a knife. Meanwhile, the third man used a hammer to smash a glass display cabinet, before grabbing luxury watches and other valuables from inside.

Hong Kong police search for wounded driver in HK$23.5 million Tsim Sha Tsui jewellery robbery

At least 34 Swiss watches and 39 American-made bracelets were stolen. Officers said the robbers were in and out of the shop in less than 90 seconds, and fled back to Lock Road before escaping in the car.

The police source said the suspect arrested on Thursday was believed to be the driver of the getaway vehicle, and had hurt his leg when he later torched the car to destroy any evidence.

The seven-seater, which had earlier been reported stolen in the northwestern town of Yuen Long, was found ablaze in Lok Ma Chau, near Hong Kong’s border with mainland China, about 90 minutes after the raid.

The man suffered burns to both his legs and his right hand and was on Friday receiving treatment at Tuen Mun Hospital, officers said.

Sunday’s robbery was the fifth high-profile smash-and-grab in Tsim Sha Tsui since March last year.

In May, two men prised open a display window at a store in Harbour City shopping centre and snatched HK$5 million worth of jewellery.

One of the biggest thefts came in February in broad daylight, when five men were robbed of two suitcases containing more than 450 million Japanese yen (US$4.07 million). Police later recovered the money after intercepting the getaway car on a flyover outside Mei Foo Sun Chuen housing estate in Lai Chi Kok.

Thieves launch daring 90-second smash-and-grab raid in one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts

In September, three thieves escaped on a motorbike with HK$24 million worth of jewellery after smashing a store window with hammers at the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Chow Sang Sang on Canton Road.

And in March last year, a masked robber took just seven seconds to break a display window and make off with a diamond ring worth HK$5.26 million from 3D-Gold on Nathan Road, also in Tsim Sha Tsui.