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Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 19:08

Notorious armed gangster Yip dies at 55

By chinadailyasia.com

Notorious armed gangster Yip dies at 55
(Left) Yip Kai-foon; (right) a footage of Yip carrying an AK47 automatic rifle during a robbery was widely distributed after being broadcast on TV. (Internet photo)

Hong Kong’s notorious bandit Yip Kai-foon died at Queen Mary Hospital after suffering from cancer, the Correctional Services Department confirmed on Wednesday.

Yip, 55, had been treated for cancer for some time and was taken to the hospital on April 1. He had been serving his terms in Stanley Prison before that. His situation deteriorated and he was certified dead about 1 am on Wednesday.

Yip, born in Shanwei, Guangdong province, sneaked into Hong Kong when he was 17 and robbed many jewelry shops. His final arrest came in 1996, after which he was sentenced to 41 years in prison for, among other offenses, possessing arms and ammunition and escaping from lawful custody.

Dubbed as one of the top three gangsters in the city, Yip robbed a jewelry shop in Tsim Sha Tsui and a watch store in Central in 1984. He was later arrested when he tried to sell the booty to repay his gambling debts. He was sentenced to 18 years behind bars for handling stolen goods and possession of arms.

In August 1989, Yip, claiming a stomachache, was sent to Queen Mary Hospital for medical treatment. He threatened the correctional officers on guard, using a bottle he found in the toilet. He was able to flee after boarding a van parked outside the hospital by holding the driver and the driver’s son hostage. Yip disappeared after leaving the van in Wong Chuk Hang.

Two years later, in 1991, Yip teamed up with several other gangsters to rob five jewelry shops in Kwun Tong, holding them up with an AK47 automatic rifle. The police, with firearms to match, were forced to engage in a gunfight with Yip and his accomplices in the industrial area.

In 1993, Yip was videotaped by a resident holding an AK47 automatic rifle in Nathan Road while on the lookout during the looting of a jewelry shop in the busy business area

The police offered a HK$1 million reward for Yip’s capture from 1992.

In 1993, Yip was videotaped by a resident holding an AK47 automatic rifle in Nathan Road while on the lookout during the looting of a jewelry shop in the busy business area. The historical footage was widely distributed after being broadcast on TV.

But Yip conducted several more robberies until 1996 when he partnered up with another notorious gangster Cheung Tze-keung, also known as “Big Spender”. The pair plotted to kidnap tycoon Li Ka-shing’s eldest son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, seeking a ransom of HK$2 billion. But Yip was arrested when he attempted to sneak back into Hong Kong to carry out the abduction of Li.

Days before the kidnap, Yip was paralyzed from the waist down after being hit by bullets during a gunfight with police officers who apprehended him when he sneaked back into Hong Kong with arms. He was put behind bars in 1997.

The prevalence of armed robbery in the 1980s and 1990s prompted an upgrade of police’s gear, including using better bullet-proof jackets and equipping female police officers with firearms. Police records showed that there were 66 armed robberies in 1990, the highest in the past 36 years.

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