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Crime

Two men arrested for HK$15 million suitcase robbery, as Hong Kong police hunt for six others

  • One suspect arrested in raid on Tung Chung flat, while other was caught during stop-and-search in Kowloon City
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 2:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 10:59pm

Hong Kong police arrested two Pakistani men early on Thursday morning in connection with a HK$15 million (US$1.9 million) armed robbery in a hotel room just hours before.

By 5pm, a citywide police search was still under way for six other South Asian men who had made off with bags full of cash taken from a Sha Tin hotel.

The robbery took place on Wednesday night. Officers said it seemed the victims – three men and one woman – arrived at the Regal Riverside Hotel on Tai Chung Kiu Road, Sha Tin, and entered a room at 8.21pm. They planned to meet a business partner there, to exchange some US banknotes, police said.

“There was a South Asian man inside the room when the door was opened. Another five South Asian men pushed the four into the room. They drew knives and threatened the victims,” a law enforcement source said. The four were tied up before the robbers made off with the cash in a rucksack, a suitcase and a handbag.

Superintendent Leung Kwok-wing of New Territories South regional crime unit said the gang also stole mobile phones and watches from the four victims in the robbery, which lasted two to three minutes.

The source said it was possible the gang had set up a bogus transaction to get hold of the money. The woman was an intermediary who had arranged the transaction, and the three men – two Hong Kong identity card holders and a Taiwanese passport holder – were from a money changer.

HK$15 million suitcase robbery sparks hunt for four

One of the two suspects, 60, was arrested in a police raid on a Tung Chung flat shortly after 1am. The other, 31, was caught on the street in Kowloon City in a stop-and-search operation at about 4am.

The two suspects – both Hong Kong identity card holders of Pakistani origin – were identified as police were tracking down the owner of the white Toyota Estima used as a getaway car.

The older man is the registered owner of the vehicle. A law enforcement source said he claimed to have bought the car on behalf of his friend, the other arrested suspect.

The case came to light after the victims untied themselves and made a police report at about 8.28pm.

By then, the gang had fled in the seven-seater Toyota, which was later found abandoned at the Hoi Fai Road waterfront near Olympian City, a residential and shopping complex in west Kowloon. The site is about 11km from the hotel.

Police tracked the vehicle with data from a GPS device hidden in the suitcase.

Inside the car, three bundles of HK$500 banknotes amounting to about HK$150,000 were found in the glove compartment.

Officers also found two pairs of work gloves in a rubbish bin near the abandoned car, and a windbreaker and a cap in bushes nearby. Officers collected fingerprints from the vehicle, and a sniffer dog was also called in.

Before police found the car, the GPS information had led officers to Kak Tin Village in Tai Wai, about 3km from the hotel. Police scouted the area, but arrested no one.

Leung said the two suspects would be held for questioning overnight and had not been charged.

According to official statistics, police handled 82 reports of robbery in the first six months of this year, down 8.9 per cent from 90 cases in the same period last year.