Yip Kai Foon

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Yip Kai Foon
Native name
葉繼歡
Born(1961-06-12)12 June 1961
Died19 April 2017(2017-04-19) (aged 55)[1]
Cause of deathLung cancer
NationalityChinese
Other names
  • Teeth Dog
  • Goosehead
OccupationGangster
Criminal statusDeceased
Conviction(s)
Criminal penalty36 years imprisonment (reduced from 41 years on appeal: 11 years from prior sentence, 30 years from new charges)
Capture status
Captured
Wanted since24 August 1989
Escaped24 August 1989
Escape end13 May 1996
Imprisoned atStanley Prison (1996)
Yip Kai Foon
Traditional Chinese葉繼歡
Simplified Chinese叶继欢

Yip Kai Foon (Chinese: 葉繼歡; 12 June 1961 – 19 April 2017,[1] born in Haifeng, China), also known as "Teeth Dog" and "Goosehead", was an infamous Chinese illegal immigrant turned gangster who was most active in Hong Kong from the early 1980s to 1990s. He and his gang specialised in robbing jewellery stores with assault rifles. Their weapon of choice was the AK-47 assault rifle, which they acquired from black markets hosted by triads. He is also the first person to have used an AK-47 during an armed-robbery in Hong Kong.

Early crimes[edit]

In October 1984, when he was 23, Yip led a gang of five armed mainland men into Hong Kong. They robbed two jewelry stores, King Fook Jewellery Co. Ltd on 10 October 1984 and Dickson Jewellery Co. Ltd. on 27 October 1984; they managed to obtain more than HK$2 million worth of precious items as a result.[2][3] In the course of both robberies, shots were fired. An undercover policeman posed as a potential buyer for the stolen goods as part of a sting operation. During the subsequent 28 December 1984 meeting, once the policeman identified himself, Yip attempted to shoot him and a violent struggle occurred. After Yip was subdued, he was found with two handguns, later linked by ballistics to the October robberies.

Yip was convicted on four counts (two counts of handling stolen goods for each robbery, possession of firearms, and use of a firearm with intent to resist arrest) and sentenced to 18 years in prison.[3] Yip contested the conviction, claiming that he was asked only to find a buyer for what he thought were sub-standard watches produced in local factories; his appeal was dismissed in 1987. But he escaped on 24 August 1989,[4] when he faked appendicitis and was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital. In the toilet, he jumped his two officers with broken bottles and made off in a van parked at the hospital entrance. He hijacked the van with two occupants inside, a 37-year-old van driver and driver's 6-year-old son. While driving, he forced the driver to take off shoes and clothes so Yip could put them on. He got off at Wong Chuk Hang and left the scene by bus.[5] He is presumed to have fled into mainland China.

On the run[edit]

AK-47 heists[edit]

On 9 June 1991, he and his gang, armed with AK-47s and pistols, robbed five goldsmiths shops on the "Golden" Mut Wah Street in Kwun Tong. They fired 54 shots at police and escaped with gold and jewelry worth HK$5.7 million.[6] Many onlookers believed the gun battle was being staged for a film.[7]

The gang was linked to a robbery of two jewelers on Tai Po Road in Sham Shui Po on 10 March 1992. During the course of that robbery, gang members fired 65 shots at police and members of the public, escaping with HK$3 million worth of jewelry.[6][8]

Yip is thought to have been involved in a 6 January 1993 jewelry store robbery on Nathan Road in Mong Kok, when a gang fired 30 rounds from AK-47s, killing a woman passerby. One robber was shot by police during the chase; the others dumped his body on the street when they switched getaway cars.[8]

Macau police suspected Yip was involved in an April 1994 armed heist of HK$40 million in gambling chips from the casino at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Taipa.[8]

In 1995, Yip moved his crime operation to Shenzhen, participating in the January abduction and murder of a Tianjin businessman and the November murder of a police informant.[9]

The total worth of his stolen goods is estimated at HK$20 million (Approximately $2,576,920 US). Yip achieved notoriety by escaping police custody multiple times.

Capture and trial[edit]

His career finally came to an end on 13 May 1996 when he was arrested following a Kennedy Town gunfight with police that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At the time he had a HK$1 million reward on his head,[6][10] but the two officers involved did not receive the reward.[8] Two police officers had surprised Yip and his gang in an alley near the waterfront. Since they had just debarked from a boat, the police suspected they were illegal immigrants and asked for identification.[11] The rest of the gang fled, but Yip pulled a gun from a bag and began shooting.[2] During an ensuing foot pursuit, the officers testified they ordered him to drop his gun, which he refused to do, instead shooting at the officers.[12] After his gun jammed, he was captured.[2] He was found with a machine gun, a pistol, and 1.8 kg of explosives.[13]

He was charged with possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence and shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm stemming from wounds one of the officers received in the course of the arrest.[14][15] While Yip was recovering from his injuries, additional charges of escaping custody and kidnapping (during the van hijack) were added stemming from his 1989 escape.[16]

During the lead-up to the trial, a fictionalized version of Yip's life was filmed as The King of Robbery (Chinese: 悍匪), also known as Life Will Never Be Twice, starring Simon Yam and Roy Cheung), but its planned August 1996 release was delayed by court order.[17]

Yip's trial began on 18 February 1997, with the defence claiming the police shot Yip in the back and then stole HK$30,000 from him.[18] He dismissed his defence team two days later, apparently falling asleep when given the chance to cross-examine a prosecution witness.[19]

On 10 March 1997, he was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 41 years in prison, which consists of the 11 years he had left on his original sentence and 30 years on the new charges, to be served consecutively. The earliest year in which he could have been released was 2022.[20]

Imprisonment[edit]

Yip's lawyers appealed his conviction, stating the publicity surrounding his arrest was prejudicial to the jury, but lost the appeal on 8 December 1998.[21][22]

A separate appeal to reduce his sentence, based on his injuries and subsequent care, was heard in March 1999.[23] The Court of Appeal reduced his sentence by approximately five years.[24][25]

Yip subsequently went to the Court of Final Appeal seeking a reduction in his sentence based on his 'catastrophic' medical condition,[26] but the appeal was denied.[27][28]

He was married to his mainland wife in August 2003. He had been previously married (to the same woman) under a false name before his imprisonment.[29]

Yip continued to maintain his innocence over the 1996 shootout, offering a substantial reward for a witness he alleges saw the events leading up to his arrest.[30]

Yip converted to Christianity in March 2004.[4]

Yip was sentenced on 11 January 2010 to an additional six months in jail for assaulting an officer at Stanley Prison on 30 April 2009.[31] He had complained that he had been badly treated by prison guards.[4]

On 1 April 2017, he was hospitalised at Queen Mary Hospital for cancer treatment. He died on 19 April 2017 of lung cancer.[32][33]

Cultural influence[edit]

Several documentaries detail Yip's exploits and several fictional movies are adapted from his criminal history.

  • The Most Dangerous Man (2010, 最.危險人物; Zuì wéixiǎn rénwù). Yim Foon portrayed by Karel Wong
  • The King of Robbery (1996, 悍匪; Hàn Fěi; 'Ruthless'). Chan Sing portrayed by Simon Yam
  • Hong Kong's King of Thieves (香港盜賊之王). Yip Kai-foon portrayed by Chan Wah
  • Trivisa (2016). Yip Kwok-foon portrayed by Richie Jen

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'King of Robbery' Yip Kai-foon dies of cancer". Radio Hong Kong. 19 April 2017.(in Chinese)
  2. ^ a b c Gee, Alison Dakota (31 May 1996). "'Teeth Dog' Meets his Match". Asiaweek. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b Attorney General v Yip Kai Foon,   UKPC 4 (High Court of Hong Kong 7 December 1987).
  4. ^ a b c Mok, Danny (8 July 2010). "I did wrong, says '80s gangster Yip Kai-foon". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  5. ^ 89年「詐肚痛」瑪麗越柙 (in Chinese). 2009-11-07. Archived from the original on 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
  6. ^ a b c Lewis, Tommy (7 November 1995). "Goosehead gang reward". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  7. ^ Lee, Stella (18 August 1998). "Laughing gangster had army training". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d Lee, Stella; Lewis, Tommy (15 May 1996). "Shops robbed by gang wielding AK-47 rifles". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  9. ^ Ng, Kang-Chung (25 October 1998). "Confessions 'were forced'". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Hong Kong's most wanted". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 28 January 1996. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  11. ^ "It happened here: Yip Kai-foon arrested, May 13, 1996". Time Out HK. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  12. ^ Buddle, Cliff (19 February 1997). "Yip Kai-foon shot after refusing to give up". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  13. ^ Lee, Stella (29 May 1996). "Suspect gets news of wives". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Yip arms charge". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 17 May 1996. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Charged Yip too ill to appear in court". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 18 May 1996. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  16. ^ Hon, May Sin-Mi (21 July 1996). "Yip ring of steel defended". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  17. ^ Fonoroff, Paul (16 August 1996). "Court order lifts mundane piece into limelight". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  18. ^ Buddle, Cliff (21 February 1997). "Judge in mystery halt to Yip trial". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  19. ^ Buddle, Cliff (21 February 1997). "Defence rests after Yip sacks his legal team". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  20. ^ Buddle, Cliff; Wan, Rhonda Lam (11 March 1997). "Yip all smiles as he is jailed for 41 years". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  21. ^ Buddle, Cliff (9 December 1998). "Gangster Yip fails in court appeal". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  22. ^ Yip Kai-foon v HKSAR, 1 HKLRD   (Court of Appeal 1998) ("The judge fully comprehended the nature of the material, acknowledged that it was potentially damaging material but was satisfied that that potential could be set at naught if a sufficient warning was given. He gave a properly emphatic warning. In exercising his discretion the judge did not take into account any matters which he should not have considered, nor did he fail to consider matters which he should have considered, and he was neither plainly wrong as to the law or in his reasoning. There was no basis for interfering with the judge’s refusal to stay.").
  23. ^ Buddle, Cliff (19 March 1999). "Mercy plea over gangster's jail care". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  24. ^ Buddle, Cliff (24 April 1999). "New evidence will clear me, claims gangster Yip". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  25. ^ HKSAR v Yip Kai Foon, 1 HKLRD 277 (Court of Appeal 1999) ("The overall sentence of 40 years and 3 months called for adjustment in accordance with the totality principle. The totality was excessive and the sentence could be varied to one of 36 years and 3 months. That would be achieved by ordering that the overall sentence of 29 years imposed on the two indictments should start to run four years prior to the expiration of the sentence which the Applicant was serving at the time when the later sentences were imposed.").
  26. ^ Buddle, Cliff (15 December 1999). "Parapalegic gangster allowed to challenge sentence in top court". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  27. ^ Lo, Clifford (4 April 2000). "Gangster Yip back in hospital after heart flutter". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  28. ^ Yip Kai-foon v HKSAR, 3 HKCFAR 31 (Appeal Committee of the Court of Final Appeal 2000) ("Although the injuries suffered by the Applicant were very serious, the offences were very grave and he suffered his injuries in a gun battle between his gang and the police. Although no police officers or members of the public were injured they were put to terrible risk. The actions of the Applicant and his gang came very close, as the Court of Appeal rightly stated, to declaring war on society and ‘a court would be failing in its duty to the public if it did not impose heavy deterrent sentences in circumstances such as this’.").
  29. ^ Lee, Stella (12 August 2003). "Gangster Yip Kai-foon ties the knot in prison". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  30. ^ Lewis, Tommy (4 October 2003). "Yip offers $500,000 in quest for witness". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  31. ^ "Yip Kai-foon gets additional 6 months". RTHK English News. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  32. ^ "【賊王病逝】患肺癌下半身癱瘓 健康許可下獲安排做車衣摺熨". Apple Daily. 19 April 2017.(in Chinese)
  33. ^ "一代賊王葉繼歡癌症擴散 醫院病逝". on.cc東網 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-04-19.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Gee, Alison Dakota (31 May 1996). "'Teeth Dog' Meets his Match". Asiaweek. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  • Attorney General v Yip Kai Foon,   UKPC 4 (High Court of Hong Kong 7 December 1987).
  • Attorney General v Yip Kai Foon, 1 HKLR 544 (Hong Kong 1988).
  • R v Yip Kai Foon,   HKC 134 (Hong Kong 1988).
  • Yip Kai Foon v HKSAR, 1 HKLRD   (Court of Appeal 1998).
  • HKSAR v Yip Kai Foon, 1 HKLRD 277 (Court of Appeal 1999).
  • Yip Kai-foon v HKSAR, 3 HKCFAR 31 (Appeal Committee of the Court of Final Appeal 2000).