SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man allegedly used a toy pistol to rob a bank in Hong Kong, getting away with about HK$14,000 (S$2,400) in cash.
The 73-year-old was arrested about seven hours later, after reportedly fleeing on a public bus.
The Hong Kong Police said the suspect has been charged with one count of robbery and one count of overstaying.
The police told The Straits Times that at about 3.40pm on April 14, it received information about the robbery from the staff of a bank in Nathan Road in Kowloon.
The staff said the man had shown them a pistol and fled with the cash towards the Sham Shui Po area.
The suspect was described as about 1.7m tall with a strong build.
He was wearing a blue-and-black coat, black trousers, dark sneakers, sunglasses and a black mask.
The Hong Kong Police said no one was injured in the incident.
Footage from a security camera in the bank was uploaded by Hong Kong media outlets, showing the man in a black cap passing a note to bank staff before brandishing the toy pistol.
He also appeared to pass a black bag to the staff shortly after.
The man was arrested in the Pat Heung area of the Yuen Long district about seven hours later and the suspected firearm was confirmed to be a toy pistol.
A video uploaded on Facebook by the Hong Kong Police showed officers escorting the suspect to a vehicle shortly after his arrest.
The man was handcuffed and a black hood had been placed over his head.
The police found the stolen money and the clothes the suspect had worn during the robbery in his home.
Further investigations by the police found that the suspect had allegedly been overstaying in Hong Kong for more than 10 years, and was also linked to a pharmacy robbery in the Mong Kok area in July 2020.
The Hong Kong Police said on Facebook that the Covid-19 pandemic could have been what pushed the man to crime.
"The pandemic has affected the economy, and the police believe that there will be those who are willing to take the risk and turn to crime," it said.
"The police will continue to deploy officers, conduct patrols in various areas and fight illegal activities aided by intelligence gathered."
If convicted of robbery, the Singaporean may be jailed for life.