A 48-year-old Vietnamese man hurt himself by biting his tongue after he was caught stealing in a shop in Shatin, the New Territories on Wednesday.

The man ran away after he was stopped by staff of a clothing store on the 3rd floor of New Town Plaza when they suspected him of shoplifting, Oriental Daily reported.

Security guards and passers-by subdued the suspect and held him down to wait for police officers to arrive.

A witness said the suspect resisted vigorously and yelled in fluent Cantonese to be left alone. He was then seen to be bleeding heavily from his mouth.

Police officers arrived and called in paramedics to take him to hospital for treatment. Medical staff said the suspect’s only injury was to his mouth.

An initial investigation found that the suspect, an illegal immigrant from Vietnam, had allegedly stolen nine items of clothing worth HK$2,500 (US$318).