Trio held for wrecking celebrity's cafe

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Three South Asian men aged 16 to 24 were arrested for alleged criminal damage and theft following the trashing of a newly opened Happy Valley cafe co-owned by Gordon Ip Wang-sing, a member of disbanded local boy group Bird of Paradise.

The three suspects allegedly wielded hammers as they stormed into the cafe on San Tsuen Street in Tai Hang and wreaked havoc on Thursday night when the cafe opened for business.

Congratulatory flower baskets, tables, chairs and shelves were left scattered, with shattered glass across the floor, causing a loss of around HK$140,000.

One of the attackers snatched the phone of a 28-year-old worker surnamed Lau who was recording the attack, before the trio fled in a private car.

In a press briefing, police inspector Chow Hau-yan, from Wan Chai district anti-triad section, said that officers watched surveillance camera footage following the incident.

Police saw the car was parked in Sham Shui Po, and subsequently laid an ambush operation to arrest two of the men - a 24-year-old Pakistani and a 17-year-old Bangladeshi - when they reached to pick up the car on Thursday.

Neither of them possessed a Hong Kong ID card and both were holders of going-out passes.

The third suspect - a 16-year-old Pakistani with Hong Kong ID Card - was arrested in Wong Tai Sin the next day.

It is believed that the trio "received an order" to wreck the cafe, Chow said, adding he did not rule out that it was planned by gangsters.

The two older men have been charged with joint count of criminal damage. They will appear at Eastern Magistrates' Courts today, while the 16-year-old is still detained at a police station.

The chic cafe is co-run by Ip and singer Alley Chan Lok-yiu, member of disbanded girl group Freeze. They held an official opening ceremony yesterday.

Actor Michael Tao Dai-yu, known as "Housewife Killer" and TVB artist Benjamin Yuen Wai-ho and wife Bowie Cheung Po-yee were among the guests.

Ip was a professional dancer before he debuted with singers Lincoln Hui Chun-ho and Tyrese Au as a three-member boy band Bird of Paradise in 2014. The group disbanded in 2021.