Burglars steal HK$2 million in handbags and watches from Chanel store in two-minute raid

Police find luxury boutique ransacked, with shelves emptied and goods missing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 10:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 11:07pm

Eighty seconds was all it took for a group of five or more burglars to steal about HK$2 million worth of handbags and watches from one of Hong Kong’s prime retail strips in Causeway Bay early on Tuesday morning.

Police were called to the Chanel store at Lee Garden One on Hysan Avenue at about 4.30am after security guards found a glass door smashed with shards scattered on the ground.

Officers found the luxury boutique ransacked, with shelves emptied and handbags missing. Initial estimates put the value of the haul at HK$2 million.

According to a police source, CCTV footage showed the raid took about eighty seconds. At least five robbers are suspected to be involved.

“Initial investigations showed four masked robbers used a sledgehammer to shatter the glass door of the shop before smashing open display cabinets and snatching valuables,” he said.

“They operated quickly. They were in and out in one or two minutes.”

He believed the gang fled in a getaway vehicle driven by a fifth person.

Describing the raid as “organised”, the source said: “Judging by the speed of the raid and the method they used, they appear to be professionals.”

Police said the four burglars who broke into the shop were males, of medium build, and thought to be aged between 25 and 30. They were wearing masks and black or white gloves.

Officers from the Hong Kong Island regional crime unit have taken over the investigation and are working to gather surveillance video from around the store in an effort to identify the robbers and their escape route.

According to police, security guards were sent to check on the shop after its alarm went off. Officers mounted a search, but no arrests were made.

Last month, a gang of smash-and-grab thieves apparently took advantage of deserted streets during Typhoon Nida to steal dozens of jade pieces from a Percival Street store in Causeway Bay in a pre-dawn raid.

Police are investigating whether the two cases are linked.

They appealed for anyone with information to contact officers at 2860 7834 or 9886 0043.

Chanel Hong Kong has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The French luxury fashion house has eight outlets in the city, and its handbags and fashion accessories are popular among locals as well as tourists from the mainland and Southeast Asia.

In January, five members of a smash-and-grab gang made off with more than HK$2 million worth of handbags from a store in a Tsuen Wan shopping mall. Police said they mainly targeted high-end Hermes bags.