A 57-year-old man was arrested in Tin Shui Wai on Wednesday for allegedly robbing the Bank of East Asia headquarters in Central.

The man, surnamed To, gave a bank teller a note at around 3:30pm, before handing her a plastic bag at gunpoint, according to surveillance footage. He left with HK$70,000 following the altercation, which lasted around two minutes.

Police said the unemployed man was arrested at around 7:50pm at a park near Tin Yan Estate in Tin Shui Wai, where officers recovered the cash and a toy air gun. He did not resist when apprehended.

Photo: Screenshot.

After the robbery, armed officers stood guard at the bank on Des Voeux Road Central. Other armed officers searched Central MTR station for the suspect.

Superintendent Law Kwok-hoi said police were able to identify the man after investigation, who then admitted to committing the crime under police caution. He was detained overnight.

It was not the man’s first brush with the law. In January 2016, To was arrested in Tin Shui Wai, four days after he was said to have stolen a golden chain worth around HK$23,000 from a jewellery shop at the intersection of Fuk Wing Street and Pei Ho Street in Sham Shui Po.

Apple Daily cited sources as reporting that the suspect had a criminal record, including a conviction for a 1987 armed robbery targeting Dao Heng Bank on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. He reportedly held six people hostage on a mini bus during his escape. He was jailed for 16 years after the arrest.

The suspect was reportedly in-and-out of prison over multiple robberies against sex workers.

A spokesperson for the Bank of East Asia said no customers or staff members had been injured.

A Mei Foo branch of the bank also saw a robbery in May 2016. A man in a cap, a face mask, and a pair of working gloves held a suspected pistol at a bank teller. However, the staffer did not comply with his demands and notified the branch’s manager to report the incident to police. the man fled empty handed. There were no injuries.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.