CRIME

Cheuk Nang tycoon Cecil Chao latest celebrity victim of burglary

Thief escapes with antiques and other items worth HK$10 million taken from bathroom safe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 4:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 9:43am

Flamboyant tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung became the latest victim in a string of celebrity burglaries when antiques and other items valued at about HK$10 million were stolen from a safe in a bathroom at his 20,000 sq ft mansion.

The burglary was discovered at about 9.30am yesterday after Chao's girlfriend found the bathroom in Villa Cecil on Victoria Road locked from the inside.

"When she used a key to unlock the bathroom, she found signs of ransacking inside," a police officer said. "The 3ft by 5ft safe was prised open and some antiques were stolen."

Initial investigations revealed that six antiques, five watches and 20 items of jewellery had been stolen.

The girlfriend, 35, told police that she had gone to the bathroom at about 2am and found nothing suspicious.

"The house is very big. It's just like a maze," the officer said. But he refused to comment how an intruder could have discovered the safe and whether it was possible it was an inside job.

"Police believe the burglar scrambled down a hillside into the mansion and then climbed into the cloakroom of the [girlfriend's] bedroom," he said.

A police source said the CCTV system was out of order and no one had been arrested. The western district crime squad is investigating the crime.

Leaving his mansion in a Rolls-Royce at about 1.30pm yesterday, Chao said it was inappropriate to comment as police were investigating.

Chao, 78, is the chairman of the family property company Cheuk Nang. His daughter, Gigi Chao, is its vice-chairman. The family made international headlines in 2012 after Chao offered HK$500 million to any man who succeeded in marrying Gigi after learning she had wed her girlfriend Sean Eav.

His mansion was the third luxury house burgled on Hong Kong Island in the past four days while a quarter of the 28,000-strong police force was busy controlling Occupy Central protesters.

Two houses in the exclusive Peak and Repulse Bay areas were broken into on Friday.

The year's biggest raid was in February when five-carat diamond earrings worth HK$7 million and HK$1.7 million in cash and valuables were stolen from the Sai Kung home of a Taiwanese businesswoman.