Singaporean overstayer in Hong Kong robs bank with toy gun, steals $2,400

The robbery took place at China Construction Bank (Asia) on Nathan Road in Yau Ma Tei.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A Singaporean man who has stayed in Hong Kong illegally for more than a decade will be charged with robbery after he allegedly brandished a toy gun at a bank teller and stole HK$14,000 (S$2,400).

Police said on Thursday (April 14) night that the man would be charged over the incident in Yau Ma Tei. He is also linked to a similar case two years ago in Mong Kok.

CCTV footage posted online shows the robber standing at the counter of China Construction Bank (Asia) located on Nathan Road and slipping a piece of paper through the slot at the bottom of the protective barrier. He raises the gun-like object and points it at the teller as she reads the note and then passes her a black bag.

A screengrab showing the robber pointing the gun-like object at the bank teller. Photo: Handout

Throughout the 40-second video, a customer is seen standing beside him at the next teller window, seemingly oblivious to the crime.

The robber fled across Nathan Road, not far from Hamilton Street, and jumped aboard a northbound bus as bank employees chased him, but without success, according to Superintendent Alan Chung Nga-lun of the Kowloon West regional crime unit.

Witnesses told police the man boarded the 87D bus headed for Ma On Shan.

Police officers inspect a bus on Nathan Road after the robbery. Photo: May Tse

Heavily armed officers wearing full protective gear arrived at the scene at around 3.40pm, and video posted online showed them stopping a double-decker at a busy intersection to carry out a search.

Armed police at the scene of the crime in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: May Tse

After a seven-hour manhunt, officers arrested the suspect in a house at Yuen Kong village in Yuen Long. He was detained for questioning overnight.

Chung said in a briefing held in the early hours of Friday that the gun was a toy and police had recovered some of the stolen money.

He added that the unemployed Singaporean suspect had overstayed for more than 10 years and lived with his foreign wife, who had right of abode in Hong Kong.

Asked how much money the suspect requested on the slip of paper that he had shown the teller, Chung said the message only read in Chinese: “I am now robbing, I have a gun.”

He added that the suspect was linked to a case in Mong Kok in July 2020, when a robber used a lighter as a weapon in a failed attempt to get money from a pharmacy.

The suspect is also reportedly hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.