More people are having their pockets picked in Hong Kong's crowded streets - and the blame is falling on organised crime.
The city's latest crime figures show the number of pickpocketing cases rose by nearly 31 per cent in the first 10 months of this year. There were 1,119 cases between January and October, up 30.9 per cent from 855 cases in the corresponding period last year.
Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said yesterday some of the thefts were found to have links to organised crime. 'Police will conduct more patrols in crowded areas,' Lee said after a meeting of the Fight Crime Committee.
Miscellaneous thefts increased slightly in the same period, from 15,499 last year to 15,844 this year.
Drug seizures, meanwhile, have been soaring.
The amount of the methamphetamine Ice seized by law enforcement agencies was up 230 per cent in the 10 months, from 30kg last year to 99kg this year, while the amount of cocaine seized rose almost 380 per cent from 116kg to 553 kg.
The overall crime rate was slightly lower in the period with 62,634 crimes recorded, down 3.2 per cent on 64,690 cases last year.
Triad-related crime recorded a 14 per cent drop in the first 10 months, from 1,906 last year to 1,645 this year. Homicide cases dropped 25 per cent from 44 last year to 33 this year.
Asked about criticism of the high-profile arrest of three graft-busters at the Independent Commission Against Corruption headquarters last week, Lee said police and the ICAC had agreed to keep it low-profile.
'Unfortunately, there were several journalists outside the entrance of ICAC headquarters,' he said.
A former commissioner of the ICAC, Lee said the heads of police and the anti-corruption force had regular meetings on communication and co-operation.
On the rise
The amount of Ice, in kilograms, seized in Hong Kong in the first 10 months of the year: 99