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Crime in Hong Kong

All three suspects caught after HK$40 million smash-and-grab raid at Hong Kong jewellery shop

One suspect arrested near scene after gang smashes store windows with hammer, remaining two caught at Shenzhen border 

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2018, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 8:10am

Police on Monday arrested three tourists from Colombia after they allegedly took off with HK$40 million (US$5.1 million) worth of jewellery in a smash and grab robbery in the heart of Hong Kong’s business district.

One suspect was arrested near the scene, and the remaining two were caught trying to leave Hong Kong after a manhunt that lasted several hours.

Police said it took all of 60 seconds for three masked men to raid the Treasure Jewellery store in broad daylight on the ground floor of Duke Wellington House on Wellington Street, Central at around 11.15am.

“The gang used a hammer to smash display windows, and snatched jewellery before fleeing,” a police spokeswoman said.

Shotgun-wielding officers from the Emergency Unit, the force’s first-response team, raced to the scene and intercepted one of the suspects nearby. 

The stolen goods were worth about HK$40 million, according to Chief Inspector Sin Kwok-ming of the Hong Kong Island regional crime unit.

Sin said police recovered most of the haul from the first suspect. The man, aged 39, was caught on Jubilee Street near the Central Market, about 600 metres from the jewellery store.

A security guard at a nearby commercial building said the ­suspect had posed as a customer and entered a camera shop to evade arrest after the robbery.

A lot of jewellery, including necklaces and diamonds, was found on him
Security guard

“When police arrived, he was ordered to come out and lie face down before being handcuffed,” the guard said. “During a body search, a lot of jewellery, including necklaces and diamonds, were found on him.”

The other two suspects fled on foot uphill via Tak Wai Lane in the Lan Kwai Fong entertainment hub, a police source said.

Police seized two hammers, clothes and gloves discarded by the robbers as they fled the scene.

Officers spent the day hunting for the remaining two suspects, aged 38 and 45, who were caught several hours later while trying to flee Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Bay Port border area.

All three were identified as tourists from Colombia. 

Sin said police were looking into whether the hold-up was linked to similar robberies in Tsim Sha Tsui last year.

Smash-and-grab raid nets Hong Kong gang HK$100,000 worth of gold ornaments

The incident was the city’s sixth smash-and-grab theft in the past year.

On March 9, a gang smashed the display window of a goldsmith’s shop in Sheung Shui and made off with HK$100,000 worth of gold ornaments.

Last month, three robbers used a hammer to smash the display window of a shop in Yuen Long and stole more than HK$1 million worth of second-hand watches in a raid that took less than 20 seconds.

In December, three masked men used a sledgehammer to break into a pop-up store in Central and fled with 15 designer handbags worth HK$1.44 million.

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 the Chow Sang Sang jewellery chain on Canton Road.

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

According to official statistics, police handled 163 reports of robbery across the city last year, down 37.3 per cent compared with the 2016 figure.