Hong Kong police hunt down teen trio over $1.7mil snatched from man

Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, where the robbery took place.

Police tracked down three teens in Hong Kong accused of snatching HK$10 million (S$1.7 million) in cash from a mainland man in the busy shopping hub of Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday.

The trio, all 16, were suspected - along with another individual - of attacking a jewellery shop employee, 39, at 8.27am on Chatham Road South near Mody Road.

They made off with a suitcase the victim was carrying, containing cash in US, British, European and Canadian currency totalling HK$10 million.

One of the suspects left behind his wallet and ID card at the scene, providing investigators a crucial lead, with members of the group later apprehended in Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi in the evening.

None of the stolen cash was recovered, however.

Tsang Chung-bun, assistant commander of Yau Tsim police district, said the search was still on for three others connected to the case, including the mastermind.

He said the three teens arrested were childhood friends and lived near each other. They were believed to be lured into the criminal act with financial rewards.

The one who had dropped his wallet had allegedly pocketed HK$8,000 for the job.

"We believe they were recruited by criminals who paid them to commit illegal acts. We're now still tracing the ringleaders," Tsang said.

He added that one of the boys was a student and the other two were school dropouts. At least one of the trio was also believed to have a triad background. Tsang said further arrests were expected.

"There were a number of recent robberies involving big amounts of cash in different locations, and on many occasions, related to people carrying such money for different reasons. We hope that those in the commercial sector can be more careful about their transactions."

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.