A burglar broke into a luxury apartment on The Peak early yesterday morning despite repeatedly triggering its security alarm system during a two-hour intrusion.
No security guards were sent to check as the alarm sounded several times between 2am and 4am, allowing the burglar to escape with a haul worth HK$31,000 as a woman tenant slept in the flat, police say.
It was the second such incident at The Mount Austin in four months, following a robbery in which a Swiss family was held hostage.
In November the family was robbed of HK$40,000 and valuables as three masked robbers forced the tenant's wife to withdraw money from a nearby ATM while holding her husband, elderly mother and six-week-old daughter at knifepoint.
Police advised the landlord to improve security after the robbery, but say their request for permission to patrol the estate was refused. Officers were obliged to leave their vehicles at the estate's entrance when they arrived to investigate latest incident.
'They told us that it [patrolling the estate] was unnecessary, claiming that our police cars would scare the tenants and cause unnecessary panic,' a police officer said.
He said police found that the estate's infrared security system, which connects its apartments to a guard room, had been triggered 'five to six times' between 2am and 4am.
'No physical check was made and no security guard was deployed to check the area,' the officer said. 'They just checked the monitor of the closed-circuit television system but found nothing suspicious. They thought it was a false alarm.'
Police believe the security system's sensors were first triggered when a single burglar scaled the wall surrounding the estate.
'We believe the culprit ... climbed into the courtyard outside Block One, where the intruder tried to open the sliding glass doors of two apartments but failed,' another officer said. '[The burglar] then scaled another wall and went to the courtyard outside Block Two before entering a duplex.'
Police said a domestic helper in the duplex heard a dog barking in the kitchen but did not go to check.
The burglary was discovered at 7.30am when the 30-year-old tenant, a British woman, woke up and found her home had been ransacked.
According to the Nan Fung Group website, The Mount Austin estate, at 8 Mount Austin Road, consists of houses and apartments with a heated swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis court, playground and clubhouse.
A spokeswoman for Nan Fung Group said the estate was owned by Angela Chen, a daughter of the group's founder, Chen Din-hwa.