Jobless man arrested on suspicion of robbing HK 7-Eleven store to top up WeChat Pay account, in city’s first such hold-up

25-Sep-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 7:05 AM Print This Post

A jobless man has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a convenience store in Hong Kong by topping up a WeChat Pay account with HK$5,000 (US$642) after threatening a worker with a knife.

A police source on Thursday said he believed it was the city’s first such hold-up.

Investigation suggested the 31-year-old suspect set up the account with a stolen identity card weeks before he robbed the 7-Eleven store on Mody Road in Tsim Sha Tsui in the early hours of Saturday, the source said.

“The robber threatened a female employee with a 20cm knife in the hold-up, but he did not demand cash. He ordered her to top up a WeChat Pay account,” he said.

As the employee was unable to do the transaction, the man jumped over the counter and operated the machine on his own to add HK$5,000 into the account.

After completing the transaction, the man did not steal any money from the cash register, but ran out of the store and dumped the weapon into a nearby rubbish bin before fleeing on foot.

The employee, who was unhurt, then called police.

The source said the man knew how to operate the machine because he had worked in a convenience store before losing his job.

“Our investigation indicated that HK$4,000 of the money was transferred to another WeChat Pay account owned by his friend to settle a debt and the remaining HK$1,000 was transferred to the suspect’s own bank account,” he said.

After checking security camera footage, officers from the Kowloon West regional crime unit lay in wait in Hung Hom in the early hours of Wednesday and arrested the suspect for robbery.

Police also detained his male friend, 48, for possession of illegal drugs and an offensive weapon after seizing a small quantity of suspected crystal meth and a knuckle-duster from him.

At about 4pm on Thursday, the suspect was escorted to the Mody Road site to show officers where he had dumped the weapon.

Senior Inspector Ken Leung Ka-chun of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said the modus operandi of the robbery made the investigation more difficult, but stressed that police were capable of detecting such crimes.

As of Thursday afternoon, the suspect was still being held for questioning and had not been charged. His friend was released on bail.

In the first six months of this year, police handled 67 reports of robbery across the city.


Category: Hong Kong

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