Tsuen Wan, the New Territories (inset) Bamboo Pit Viper Photo: Google Maps, AFCD

A female shop worker received an unwelcome surprise while clearing up outside a 7-11 store in Tsuen Wan, the New Territories on Wednesday when she discovered a bamboo pit viper lurking on the pavement.

At around 3am, the 54-year-old woman surnamed Tse found the 50-centimeter-long snake slithering in front of the store at Allway Garden. It then entered the 7-11, Oriental Daily reported.

When the snake hid in a rack inside the store, Tse immediately called the police, who brought in a snake catcher.

The snake specialist managed to subdue the intruder after a few minutes by using a hook with a long handle.

The snake was a venomous Cryptelytrops albolabris, known as a bamboo pit viper, which is common in Hong Kong.

The snake catcher said cases of snakebites in Hong Kong mostly come from bamboo snakes as they are not afraid of people.

According to the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department, there are 14 venomous snake species native to Hong Kong, eight of which can inflict bites that can be fatal if not treated in time.