An Octopus card belonging to the wife of slain police constable Tsui Po-ko suggested her husband may have traveled to Belvedere Gardens just minutes before a bank robbery took place in the area on December 5, 2001, the coroner's inquest was told Thursday.
Records provided by the Octopus company also suggested Tsui may have scouted around another crime scene earlier the same year.
In an attempt to show the card may have been used by Tsui and not his wife Lee Po-ling on the dates in question, detective police constable Ho Suk-yee from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau told the court she looked into the complete usage of Tsui's and Lee's personalized cards between January 18, 2001, and March 17, 2006, when Tsui was killed together with another police constable in a gun battle in a Tsim Sha Tsui underpass.
Ho said records showed Lee had a set routine, going to work at the Social Welfare Department in Lai Chi Kok early each morning, stopping by a bakery for food before returning home in the early evening after work.
On the other hand, Tsui's travel log was filled with irregularities as he had to report for different shifts while at the Lantau North police station.
Forty-five pages of selected Octopus card records of the couple were requested by the police.
Chan Shui-may, a representative from the Octopus card company, told the court records revealed on December 5, 2001, Lee's card was used at 11.11am to get on a bus from Yut Tung Estate in Tung Chung. At 11.53am it was clocked in a minibus heading to Tsuen Wan.
Just 17 minutes later, at 12.10pm, a masked robber burst into a bank at Belvedere Garden in Tsuen Wan, shot security guard Zafar Iqbal Khan and stole close to HK$500,000.
More than an hour after the robbery, the card was used again, first in the MTR and then on a bus.
Ho told the court that December 5, 2001, was a Tuesday and Lee would have been at work at 9am while Tsui would not start his shift until 1.45pm, as such, the respective usage of the Octopus cards did not reflect the usual patterns of their users.
Chan said on March 14, 2001, Tsui used his card only once, around 9.51am for a bus ride.
Ho said the bus took Tsui from Yut Tung Estate to Tsuen Wan. However, the card does not show where Tsui got off.
On March 14, 2001, around noon, constable Leung Shing-yan was shot dead at Shek To House in Tsuen Wan when answering a bogus noise complaint.
Tsui's Octopus card record showed he had taken the same bus ride a few times when he was off-duty before the incident.
Ho said at the time Tsui was posted to the Lantau North police station near his Tung Chung home and he never used the card to travel to work.
On February 7 the same year, he took the same bus followed by another to Kwai Chung, where Belvedere Garden is located. After Leung's death, Tsui's card showed he had not taken the same route again.
However, Tsui's card travel records began to show contradictions with his working schedule and immigration records. For instance, Ho said on November 5, 2001, Tsui's personalized card showed `he' was using the MTR around 5.49pm but immigration records show he was not in Hong Kong between 2pm and 8pm.
Meanwhile, Lee's card was used for trips on buses, minibuses as well as the KCR, but remained unused when Tsui was not physically in Hong Kong.
Ho concluded the couple may have swapped cards from September 20 to December 29, 2001.
"Comparing the Octopus cards of Tsui and his wife, I have enough reasons to believe they swapped and used their cards," Ho said.
Immigration records show the couple traveled to the Philippines from March 6 to 10, 2001. Four days later, constable Leung was gunned down at Shek To House.
The inquest continues today with a police superintendent and police chief inspector detailing their investigations into the three incidents.
Tsui's mother Cheung Wai-mei and his wife are due in court Monday.