HONG KONG- Police on Monday (March 26) said they had arrested a tourist and were searching for two other people after jewellery worth around HK$40 million (S$6.68 million) were snatched in the city's sixth smash-and-grab heist in the past year.
A gang of three masked men used a hammer to smash the display window of a Treasure Jewellery store at around 11am on Monday. The store is located at Wellington Street in the busy financial district of Central.
They then entered the store and made off with stolen goods worth about HK$40 million, according to chief inspector Sin Kwok Ming of Hong Kong Island regional crime unit.
The whole incident happened in under a minute, Sin added.
Sin said police recovered most of the stolen jewellery from one of the men who was nabbed near the crime scene by the police force's first-response team.
The man is believed to be a 39-year-old tourist from Colombia, according to South China Morning Post.
A security guard surnamed Wong at the nearby commercial building said the suspect posed as a customer and entered a camera shop to evade arrest.
"When police arrived, he was ordered to come out (of the camera shop) and lie face down before being handcuffed," Wong said.
"During a body search, a lot of jewellery including necklaces and diamonds were found on him."
The other two robbers fled in the direction of Lan Kwai Fong, the city's entertainment hub, according to a police source.
Police have seized two hammers, sunglasses, jacket, caps and gloves that were suspected to have been discarded by the robbers, reported Apple Daily.
Sin said the two suspects were still at large and thought to be aged between 30 and 40.
One was wearing a light-coloured top and the other a dark-coloured top.
The employee of a nearby florist shop told Apple Daily she had heard three loud thuds and the sound of shattering glass. She intially thought that the sound came from some demolition projects and later found out that there had been a robbery in the neighbourhood.
Police is looking into whether the latest hold-up was linked to similar robberies in Tsim Sha Tsui last year, reported the Post.
The financial district of Central has witnessed a number of daring raids recently, with a bank hold-up last month and a HK$1.4 million luxury handbag robbery in December, reported broadcaster RTHK.
In December, three masked men used a sledgehammer to break into a pop-up store in Central and fled with 15 designer handbags worth HK$1.44 million.
Earlier this month (March), a gang smashed the display window of a goldsmith's shop in Sheung Shui and made off with HK$100,000 worth of gold ornaments in a pre-dawn raid.
Last month, three robbers used a hammer to smash the display window of a shop in Yuen Long and stole more than HK$1 million worth of second-hand watches in a raid that took less than 20 seconds.
In September, three thieves escaped on a motorbike with HK$24 million worth of jewellery after smashing a store window with hammers at the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of the Chow Sang Sang jewellery chain at Canton Road.