Mainland pair arrested for smashing into Hong Kong development chief’s official car

Two mainland men arrested after footage showed vandalism taking place in Science Museum parking area

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 12:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 11:01pm

Police arrested two mainland men on Wednesday afternoon who were thought to have smashed open the Hong Kong development minister’s official car and snatched a computer and government documents from it in Tsim Sha Tsui East.

A police source said the two men, who came to the city on two-way permits, were arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui.

“We have located the two suspects after studying the CCTV [footage],” the source said. “We believe they are recidivists and are involved in similar crimes in the district.”

The source said officers believe the duo did not know the car belonged to a government official and picked the target randomly.

“They saw a Fossil briefcase and broke the window. They did not target the minister in particular,” the source said.

Secretary for Development Eric Ma Siu-cheung’s driver parked the car bearing the licence plate “AM 9” in an area allocated to the Science Museum on Science Museum Road at 6.30pm on Tuesday, after taking Ma to a function.

The driver returned to the car an hour later, realising that the right rear window had been broken. He then called police.

Investigators reviewed security camera footage showing a man breaking the window and clearing away glass with his elbow. He was seen snatching a brown briefcase that was later determined to contain an iPad and documents. He then fled the scene.

Watch: Video shows official car window smashed by thief

The Development Bureau said in a statement on Tuesday night that it had immediately halted operation of the tablet computer using a remote command after the theft.

It added that the stolen documents contained no personal information belonging to any members of the public. But it provided no more details on the documents.

The bureau said it had notified the Government Security Officer.

Video goes viral in China of three foreign vandals spray-painting Beijing and Shanghai subway trains

Ma, the former development undersecretary, assumed the government post in February after it was vacated by Paul Chan Mo-po, who was appointed financial secretary.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said this could be the most serious case involving loss of confidential information since the handover – even worse than the theft of two laptops during last month’s chief executive election, leading to the loss of personal details of 3.7 million voters.

The lost iPad and documents, Lam said, could have contained “top secret” land development and planning information, which could be exploited for investment and profit.

He called on Ma to come clean on what sort and how much sensitive information was stored on the tablet and asked whether leaving the items in an unattended car was a breach of government security protocol.