Shot fired as cops corner jewelry gang suspects

Top News | Amy Nip 4 Dec 2019

A policeman opened fire at would-be robbers yesterday as officers foiled a raid on a jewelry shop in Hung Hom.

The action led to seven arrests of men aged from 20 to 27, and officers were trying to establish if the gang was connected to two jewelry heists earlier this week.

Officers had received word of the robbery attempt and targeted two vehicles on Sheung Lok Street in Ho Man Tin at 12.55pm yesterday, said Chief Inspector Wong Chi-yu of the Kowloon West regional crime unit.

But when officers in three unmarked black police vans and a car closed in after a chase, he said, "a white car continued driving and attempted to hit a police officer. Facing a life-threatening situation, the officer fired once at the car."

The bullet hit the car's hood next to the windshield but did not hit anyone. Officers then blocked the car carrying five men and the second vehicle - a red taxi stolen on November 20 - with two occupants.

The gang jumped out of the vehicles and tried to escape. Several were grabbed immediately while others were only halted after a chase.

Three of the gang were injured in the action and sent to hospital.

And "officers found five choppers, a big hammer, a mask and gloves inside the vehicles," Wong said.

The seven, known to have targeted a jewelry shop in Hung Hom, were arrested for conspiracy to rob, using forged documents and resisting arrest.

It was understood the shot was fired by a member of a Criminal Intelligence Bureau team that has special training surpassed only by what the force's Special Duties Unit undergoes.

The team was deployed after police received intelligence that stolen jewelry was being spread around by crooks. And during investigations it was found another robbery was about to go down.

Yesterday's action came after two robberies in broad daylight on Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, four masked men smashed glass counters with a hammer at a jewelry shop in To Kwa Wan and made off with gold items worth HK$2 million in a waiting taxi driven by a fifth man. Then a Cheung Sha Wan jewelry shop was robbed of gold items worth around HK$3 million on Monday.

Two robbers carrying a knife and a sledgehammer jumped from a white car, ran into the shop and smashed display counters. Then they fled with their haul.

The cases raised alarm about more serious crimes during the five months of political unrest.

From July to October the number of robbery cases was said by police to be up by 60 percent compared with the corresponding months last year.

And last month there were 28 cases of robberies compared to 147 in all of 2018.

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