Chow Sang Sang hit by $24 million smash-and-grab

Three thieves fled on a motorbike with HK$24 million (US$3 million) worth of jewellery after smashing Chow Sang Sang Jewellery’s store window with hammers in one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts about 10am yesterday.

Police have mounted a citywide manhunt following the 10-second Tsim Sha Tsui smash-and-grab raid at Silvercord shopping arcade on Canton Road.

Nine pieces of jewellery were snatched, says Yau Tsim police district chief inspector Frances Lee King-hei. The most expensive item was worth about $10 million.

Lee says two of the robbers used sledgehammers to smash the display window before jumping on a getaway motorbike driven by the third man. The motorcycle, which did not have a number plate, sped off and was last seen turning on to Peking Road.

Lee says the trio left an empty suitcase and a paper bag at the scene.

She says police are reviewing security footage to gather evidence and to determine if the gang has links to previous robberies.

Police say two of the perpetrators were wearing face masks and hats while the third had a motorcycle helmet. They made their move soon after staff members at the shop took the valuables from a vault and put them on display.

“The stolen property includes a diamond necklace, jade earrings, a diamond bracelet and diamond rings,” says a police spokesman.

The incident comes six months after a masked robber took just seven seconds to smash open a display window with a hammer and make off with a diamond ring worth $5.26 million from the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of 3D-Gold in March – about 500m from the latest crime scene.

About 12 hours before the hit on Chow Sang Sang, officers from the Kowloon west regional crime unit foiled a robbery and arrested six men for targeting a watch shop in Tsim Sha Tsui. Police say the suspects were two Hongkongers and four Mainland Chinese.

Arresting the four mainlanders outside the shop just before 9pm on Monday, the police seized two stun guns and two knives. The two Hong Kong men were arrested after being found in two cars parked nearby.

Official statistics show police handled 102 reports of robberies across Hong Kong in the first seven months of this year, down 36 per cent on the 161 cases in the same period last year.

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