A gang of burglars are targeting luxury houses along an 8km stretch of Clear Water Bay while the residents are at home eating dinner.
Police described them as skilful intruders executing well-planned crimes. Officers believe the burglars pose as hikers and lay low in hills running from Tseung Kwan O to Fei Ngo Shan Road until about 7pm, when they don ski masks and hit their targets.
"One of the reasons [they strike in the evening] is because most of these tenants switch off alarm systems when they return home and have dinner," a police source said.
The source said each break-in took less than 15 minutes. Since June 1, police have received 12 reports of burglaries in the area, although in three cases nothing was stolen.
However, the gang has got away with cash and valuables worth a total of HK$1.3 million.
Seven houses were raided while residents were at home, according to police. The other five were burgled after residents had gone out.
The latest break-in occurred at 7.30pm on Wednesday when three men wearing ski masks confronted a lawyer and his wife in their home at O Pui Village off Clear Water Bay Road.
About HK$508,000 in cash and valuables was taken.
The first case came to light on June 1, after a helper noticed two men climbing down from a first-floor balcony while a local businessman and his family were having dinner in their luxury house at the junction of Clear Water Bay Road and Fei Ngo Shan Road in Sai Kung at about 8pm. The trio escaped with HK$410,000 in cash and jewellery, police said.
On Friday last week, two burglars wearing ski masks were found ransacking a house at the junction of Clear Water Bay Road and Hang Hau Wing Lung Road when a British designer, 51, and his six-year-old son returned home at about 8pm.
In that case, the burglars escaped with five watches worth about HK$90,000.
Police believe the 12 break-ins were carried out by the same gang of at least three men.