Thieves snatch HK$6.5m in watches in 3-minute raid
It was all about timing as three men smash their way into watch store and disappear before security guards knew they'd even struck
In a smash-and-grab that took three thieves just three minutes, a luxury watch store in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel was left poorer by HK$6.5 million.
It was another 10 minutes before security guards even knew the thieves had been and gone - along with more than 240 Tudor watches from the Oriental Watch outlet in an arcade at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile on Mody Road.
"The robbers appear to be professionals, judging by the speed of the burglary and the method employed," said chief inspector Ma Kai-keung of the Kowloon West Regional Headquarters.
Surveillance video shows the three men in masks, caps and gloves entering the arcade by a rear entrance at about 6.20am.
They then used large hammers to shatter the glass door of the shop before smashing open three display cabinets and scooping up the watches.
Despite the noise of breaking glass, security guards were alerted to the break-in only when an alarm went off about 10 minutes later. Officers said initial checks showed the alarm system had not been tampered with.
A hammer and a shopping trolley, believed to have been used to carry the break-in tools, were left behind.
The burglars fled along Mody Road, got into a grey van at the junction with Bristol Avenue and drove off in the direction of Chatham Road South. Police said they were Chinese aged about 40 and roughly 1.7 metres tall. The Oriental Watch outlet sells only Rolex and Tudor watches, according to the company's website. Only the Tudor watches were taken, however, as the Rolexes were locked in a vault when the raiders struck, police said.
On July 8, a jewellery store in Sheung Shui was raided by thieves using hammers carried in a shopping trolley. They made off with HK$500,000 worth of goods in one minute. And on June 11, three thieves got away with HK$3.1 million worth of valuables from a jewellery shop on Mody Road, with the help of a bucket of water and two crowbars. They plunged the alarm in the water to silence it, smashed the cabinets and took their loot, all in just a couple of minutes.
In March, police captured a gang of six accused of half a dozen raids on designer stores over the preceding 12 months. They were also in and out fast but never bothered to tamper with the security system.
The West Kowloon crime unit is asking any witnesses to the latest raid to call them on 2761 2227.