Sun, Mar 27, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Man arrested over CTBC Bank heist in Kaohsiung

DESPERATE MEASURES:Police said the suspect, Shih Yung-hsiang, robbed a bank to pay off hundreds of thousands in gambling debt from playing ‘tian jiu pai’

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police raided a house in Kaohsiung yesterday morning and arrested a man suspected of involvement with a bank hold-up on Friday, when a bank clerk was threatened with a gun and NT$900,000 (US$27,468) in cash was stolen.

Kaohsiung City Police Department officials said they are questioning Shih Yung-hsiang (施永祥), 30, over the heist at the CTBC Bank in the city’s Nanzih District (楠梓).

At Shih’s house, an air pistol and NT$420,000 in cash were recovered, along with other evidence, Nanzih Police Precinct investigation unit chief Lin Keng-yu (林耕宇) said.

Shih said he had carried out the robbery because he had gambling debts of more than NT$1 million, police said.

Shih said he had used the money to pay some of his debts and planned to use the remaining NT$420,000 to pay other creditors.

Shih worked as a taxi driver, and lives with his wife and two children, police said, adding that officers waited until his wife went out before storming his residence and arresting him.

Police said Shih often played tian jiu pai (天九牌) — a Chinese domino game usually involving gambling that is popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong and southern China.

Shih said he had lost a lot of money playing the game, so he decided to rob a local bank, police said.

Wearing a surgical mask, Shih went to the bank and waited until there were no other customers and the security guard went outside, then made his move, police said, citing surveillance camera footage.

Shih walked to the lone female bank clerk holding up the air pistol, and shouted: “This is a robbery. Hand over the money,” police said.

After grabbing the cash from the clerk, Shih ran away, with a security guard hesitating to stop him for fear of being shot, police said.

After examining the video footage, police officers said they recognized Shih, who has prior criminal convictions.

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