Four mainland men arrested after attempted Hong Kong robbery
Officers mounted a raid after the gang was spotted trying to enter a home in Tseung Kwan O
Four men from Guangxi, thought to be behind a series of burglaries in the city, were arrested by Hong Kong police in a raid on Friday night.
It marked the second series of theft-related arrests by the force in the past two months, amid a 70 per cent surge in the number of high-end household burglaries in the city last year.
The men, aged between 24 and 37, arrived in the city with two-way permits and were intercepted after they attempted to rob a Royal Castel house on Pik Sha Road in Tseung Kwan O.
On Saturday afternoon, officers took one of the suspects back to a building in Yau Ma Tei, where he had been staying, for a house search.
The men were said to belong to a notorious village gang in southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where most of the villagers have the surname Wei and two of the arrested suspects have the name.
Police also believed they were linked to a series of burglaries that involved upscale houses in Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O in the New Territories.
Burglaries in Hong Kong totalling more than HK$500,000 per case climbed from 31 cases in 2015 to 54 last year.
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung stressed on Saturday morning that the force would work closely with its mainland counterparts and said there were no signs suggesting crime syndicates were behind the recent burglaries.
On Friday afternoon, the force mounted an anti-burglary operation along Clear Water Bay Road when officers saw four men looking suspicious and fleeing into a bush after getting off a bus at Hung Uk on the same road.
They then received a report at 8.30pm from a female security guard at the home who claimed that a group of four attempted to burgle the residence but ran away when they saw her. An hour later, officers discovered the group in Hung Uk where they were earlier seen by police in the afternoon.
“We suspect that the group is linked to the attempted burglary in Royal Castel,” said Leung Chun-chung, senior inspector from the Kowloon East Regional Intelligence Unit.
He said that one officer sustained minor injuries in the raid as one suspect resisted arrest.
Police seized a stun gun and a large number of burglary tools.
The force had been investigating the suspects for more than a month and placed them under surveillance when they recently re-entered Hong Kong from the mainland.
It is understood that the men came to the city at different times to avoid raising suspicion.
Clear Water Bay has been a recent target for robberies. In mid-December, three men from southwestern Guizhou province came to the city and were involved in a high-profile break-in and kidnapping .
The force arrested one of them on the same night, whereas the remaining two suspects were arrested by provincial public security agents on the mainland last month.
Additional reporting by Naomi Ng