Burglaries down but more cash is taken
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The number of burglaries dropped in the first four months of the year but more cash and valuables were taken in the raids, police figures show.
One of the most prominent victims was Taiwanese musician Liu Jia-chang, who lost property worth more than HK$14 million when his luxury three-storey home in Tseung Kwan O was targeted in April.
One of the items taken was an artwork by Chinese ink master Qi Baishi estimated to be worth HK$10 million. A safe containing more than HK$4 million in cash and jewellery was also stolen during the raid on the Junk Bay Villa house.
The burglary was one of 1,379 reported in the first four months of the year, a 10 per cent drop from 1,537 in the same period last year. But the amount of cash and properties involved rose to nearly HK$83.1 million from HK$67.6 million.
The haul from Liu's home was the biggest in a burglary in the past two to three years, police said.
Police arrested Liu's former domestic helper, but the painting and other stolen properties have not been recovered. The maid, 25, has been released on bail. No charges have been laid.
Chief Inspector Stanley Wong Tat-keung of the Crime Prevention Bureau said the HK$14 million case had pushed up the figures, saying the situation had remained stable in the past five years.
Wong said lax security was to blame for most of the burglary cases. 'Burglars usually select easy targets,' he said.
He urged people to safeguard their homes with security devices and alarms and not to leave valuables and large amounts of cash at home.
Last month thieves also broke into the homes of two senior police officers.
On May 6, burglars escaped with a safe containing HK$100,000 in cash and valuables from the Sai Kung house of Senior Superintendent Fred Tsui Wai-hung.
Former assistant commissioner Vincent Wong Fook-chuen lost more than HK$4 million in cash and jewellery on May 15 when his Kowloon Tong home was burgled while he and his wife were on holiday in Britain. Wong retired late last month.
On Saturday, police and three locksmith associations will introduce a scheme that will require customers to provide their personal details if they seek lock-opening services.
The scheme was devised after thieves posed as homeowners and hired locksmiths to gain entry to premises. There were two such cases last year.