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Crime in Hong Kong

‘Apologetic’ Hong Kong robber gets six years, eight months’ jail for HK$40,000 bank theft

He said ‘sorry’ to staff members before splashing what seemed like thinner on them in bid to get money

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 7:46pm

An “apologetic” robber who stole HK$40,000 from a Hong Kong bank while using a flammable liquid to threaten staff members, was sentenced to six years and eight months in jail on Thursday.

The High Court heard that on August 1, 2016, Lee Kin-sang, 59, showed up at a Fubon Bank in Tuen Mun. He apologised to two bank employees before splashing liquid that smelled like thinner on them.

“Sorry,” he told them, before moving on to a third staff member to demand money.

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On Thursday, Lee admitted to one count of robbery at the bank branch on Kai Man Path.

Mrs Justice Audrey Campbell-Moffat, in sentencing Lee, noted that the defendant resorted to robbery because of his HK$80,000 gambling debt. She said it was a serious crime, but fortunately no one was hurt.

She added that she took into account his remorse and believed his actions were out of character.

“You intended no harm,” she said, before sentencing him to a crime which would normally result in jail time of between 12 and 15 years.

The court heard that on that day, Lee turned up in a surgical mask at the bank, with a lighter and a bottle of liquid “emanating a pungent odour”.

After splashing the liquid on two staff members, he told the third employee: “Give me money ... aiming for money only! I’ve already splashed the others!”

When the woman attempted to press an alarm button, Lee splattered the liquid onto the teller counter.

Fearing for her safety, the employee then handed four piles of HK$500 notes to Lee, totalling HK$40,000. He fled the scene after receiving the money.

Lee was arrested at the end of September last year after police successfully traced his escape route.