In the 1960’s/70’s, South Bridge Road was the favourite shopping haven of well-heeled Chinese tai-tai’s, kept concubines and others who were looking for the finest gold and jewellery, high -fashion shoes from Hong Kong and other exquisite items. Famous names at that time included : Lee Onn Jewellery, Weng Cheong Goldsmith; Tin Sing Goldsmith, On Cheong Jewellery, Fung Ming Hong Kong Shoes, Hok Ming Shoes etc.
At the goldsmith and jewellery shops, the customers usually sat infront of the waist- height glass counters. Each customer will pick and try on the various gold and jewellery items which caught her fancy. There was usually some haggling between the customer and the sales person on the workmanship cost. When the final cost was agreed on, the customer would pay for her purchase with her wad of cash carried inside her hand bag. This was before the days of credit cards, Pay Now etc.
One afternoon, rich tai-tai, Mrs. Lee was at her favourite shop, looking for jewellery and gold items. After having taken her pick and settled on the price, she took out her wad of cash from her hand bag to pay for her purchase. Just then a man rushed in and headed for Mrs. Lee. He grabbed her wad of cash, slapped hard her repeatedly on the face and head. At the same time he scolded loudly in vulgar Cantonese with words to the effect : “ You lazy slut (expletive deletives)… instead of staying home to look after the family and children, you used all my money to buy gold and jewellery for yourself… etc etc.”
Mrs. Lee was shocked by the attack and slumped onto the showcase counter – dazed momentarily. Everybody in the shop was in shock and disbelief. For a few minutes, all were frozen and dumb folded. Meanwhile the attacker took a quick exit out of the shop and sprinted down South Bridge Road/Mosque Street and disappeared without a trace. By then a staff had regained his composure and went to the back of the shop to inform the Shop Manager, Mr. Chan about the incident. Mr. Chan then approached Mrs. Lee and advised her that since her husband did not like her to buy the jewellery, perhaps she should come again another day. By then Mrs. Lee had already recovered from her shock. . She screamed. “ That….(expletive deletive) is not my husband. I don’t know who is he…….”. “ I have been robbed….”
The reality of the robbery then dawned on Mr. Chan and the other shop staff. All the staff ran out of the shop in the direction where the attacker/robber had gone. By then the attacker/robber had long gone. The Police was called. There was not much they could do.
In those days when closed circuit television was not invented yet and when the sudden attack took everyone by surprise, no one had a proper description of the identity of the attacker/robber. He left behind no finger prints because he was wearing gloves.
Before leaving the shop, the Police Investigating Officer was heard muttering, “ This guy pulled off a perfect crime….”