Things have come to a pretty pass when you can no longer rely on the decency of pickpockets

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 April, 2010, 12:00am

Pickpockets used to have a sense of professionalism and decency. Now, like everyone else in Hong Kong, they just have no standards any more. Milkshake and ketchup use has been de rigueur among these criminals, to spill on unsuspecting victims to distract them. Sure, they make off with valuables but at least the victim is not grossed out.

But a gang suspected of having been active in Tsim Sha Tsui for several months has resorted to using bodily fluids and excrement. This week, a tourist in his 60s was carrying a briefcase when someone spilled the nauseous stuff on him. A gang member pretended to be a passer-by and helped him clean up. Another man tried to grab his briefcase. But the victim was alert enough to hold on to it while seizing one of the men and shouting for help.

The suspect, a Peruvian, was arrested with the help of a security guard. Police said the gang, all from South America, had been involved in up to eight similar thefts. Can these people be any more disgusting? Is there no sense of decency among thieves and knaves any more?