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Robbers Take Thousands From a Bus Company in New York’s Chinatown
2008-11-11
By MICHAEL WILSON

Five masked young men robbed a Chinatown bus company’s office at gunpoint on Sunday afternoon, binding five people with duct tape and fleeing with thousands of dollars in cash, the police and the company’s president said.

The robbery occurred at 15 Division Street, at the offices of Golden Express Company, one of several low-cost bus lines in Chinatown that take passengers to and from Atlantic City.

The president of the company, May Chow, said the five men burst into the third-floor office shortly after 12:30 p.m.

“There were these five guys, five young fellows wearing ski masks,” Mrs. Chow said. “One of them jumped over the counter and said: ‘This is a holdup, I’m not kidding. Where is the safe?’ I told him there is no safe in the office. He said, ‘Where is the money?’ I went back and got money from my bag.”

Mrs. Chow said the robbers spotted envelopes with the weekend’s earnings and took them. “They took our sales,” she said. “Three days’ worth. We haven’t really gotten the total yet, but it’s more than $27,000.”

The robbers seemed to range in age from 14 to about 19, Mrs. Chow said. Her daughter, Victoria, 22, said the men tied her, both her parents and two others with duct tape and plastic and herded them into a back room. She said the plastic was not very strong, and her father broke free and called the police.

Ms. Chow said the men were armed with box cutters and at least one of them had a gun. “I don’t know if it’s real, but they had a gun,” she said.

Mrs. Chow was injured when a robber who was tying her up accidentally cut her face with a box cutter, but she called the wound superficial.

She said that her business rivals were friendly competitors, and that she did not think the robbers were connected to the bus business. “I think it’s just random,” she said. “They’re really young guys.”

While they operate on the same crowded downtown streets, the Atlantic City bus lines are unconnected to those that travel to Philadelphia, Boston, Washington and other cities. Those bus lines are known for their inexpensive fares and highly competitive nature. In recent years, the police have said robberies, vandalism, assaults and murder have been linked to disputes among Chinatown bus companies. Golden Express has not been named in news coverage of those investigations.

There were no arrests as of Sunday afternoon. Several police officers inspected the surveillance cameras at neighboring restaurants after the robbery.