Billionaire US businessman falls victim to Hong Kong burglary, with Gold Bauhinia medal stolen

Police catch mainland resident in possession of property about 1km from luxury home

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 2:19pm

Billionaire American businessman and Hong Kong award recipient Jim Thompson has become the latest victim in a string of high-profile break-ins after his luxury home in Deep Water Bay was burgled on Monday night.

Police revealed on Tuesday that his Gold Bauhinia Star medal, as well as six watches, a silver ingot and jewellery were stolen from his residence at Manderly Gardens on Deep Water Bay Road. The total value of the items was ­unknown.

It is understood Thompson, chairman of Hong Kong-based Crown Worldwide Group and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce, was on holiday at the time of the burglary.

The valuables were recovered when police later caught a 26-year-old man, from Guizhou province, on Nam Fung Road, 1km from Thompson’s home.

Police suspected at least two burglars were involved in the theft at about 9pm. Thompson’s domestic helper alerted authorities after finding the house ransacked.

“They cut open a metal wire net on a hillside to break into the luxury private housing estate and then climbed into the three-­storey house by prising open the ground-floor study room’s window,” a source said.

“The master bedroom, closet and study room were ransacked before they escaped through the same route.”

Police intercepted the mainland suspect about two hours later carrying the stolen goods in a rucksack. The man was being held for questioning last night, but had not been charged, with the hunt still on for his partner.

“Police are also investigating whether the suspect was hired by a gang to commit crimes in Hong Kong and whether he is linked to recent burglaries,” the source said.

Mainlanders from Guizhou province have been linked to a string of recent high-profile crimes in Hong Kong, including the HK$28 million kidnapping of clothing chain Bossini heiress Queenie Rosita Law.

Thompson, 76, was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star, which recognises distinguished service to the community, in 2003. He was ranked the 43rd richest person in Hong Kong and the 401st in the US by Forbes, with a net worth of US$1.69 billion this year.

Fellow medal recipient Hui Chi-ming said on his website that the medals were made of 18-carat gold and silver, and were valued at about HK$6,000.

Monday’s theft marked the sixth high-profile burglary in a month. On August 8, the home of Hong Kong’s third-richest man, Cheng Yu-tung, on Repulse Bay Road was burgled. And on August 27, the home of Angela Leong On-kei, partner of Stanley Ho Hung-sun, was also burgled.