Hong Kong police hunt thieves who stole cash from forgetful ATM customers

Almost HK$14,000 was taken from three residents who left money behind at cash machines over the last three months

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 6:20pm

Police are searching for three opportune thieves who walked away with a total of HK$13,900 that was left behind by customers at cash machines in three separate cases over the past three months.

The three cases, which police are treating as theft, happened in the Lam Tin MTR station in August and the two shopping malls in Kwun Tong and Tsueng Kwan O in October and this month, after three ATM users forgot to take their money.

One of the victims is a 61-year-old woman surnamed Chan who forgot to take HK$12,000 after making a withdrawal at a Bank of China ATM in the Lam Tin MTR station on Lei Yue Mun Road on August 11, according to a police spokeswoman.

The second case happened on October 11 when a 27-year-old man surnamed Siu left behind HK$500 at another Bank of China ATM at the Kwun Tong Plaza in Hoi Yuen Street, Kwun Tong.

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The latest victim is a 56-year-old woman surnamed Li, who forgot to take HK$1,400 from an HSBC ATM at Choi Ming shopping mall in Choi Ming Street, Tseung Kwan O on Saturday last week.

According to police, the three victims – all Hong Hong residents – made reports to police after checking with their banks and confirming the money had been taken.

A police source said initial investigations showed there was no evidence to suggest the three cases were linked or carried out by the same person.

It is understood that the three thieves who took the money were captured by surveillance cameras.

Detectives from the Kwun Tong district crime investigative unit are investigating. So far, no one has been arrested.

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On Friday afternoon, police issued a statement reminding members of the public to make sure that they check and take their money when withdrawing from ATMs to avoid suffering any loss

In February last year, a university student from the mainland was convicted of theft after being found guilty of taking HK$4,900 left behind at an ATM on the campus of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, according to a local media report. She was fined HK$1,000 and ordered to return the stolen money.

Police figures show there were 14,604 reports of theft across the city in the first seven months of this year, an almost 13 per cent drop compared with 16,748 in the same period last year. They include pickpocketing, bag snatching, shop theft and theft from vehicles.