Police are cracking down on 'quick cash' crimes, which are expected to increase during the holiday season.
The crimes targeted include shoplifting, street scams, robbery and pickpocketing - and they are on the rise.
In the first 10 months of this year the force registered 27,195 cases, up 4 per cent, from the same period last year. More than 90 per cent were shoplifting incidents and miscellaneous thefts.
The police are working with security companies and shopping mall managers, exchanging information to make their crackdown as effective as possible. It has been established as a priority by Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung this year.
Chief Inspector Dennis Luk Hoi-ho, regional crime prevention officer for Hong Kong Island, said police were stepping up patrols during the annual winter crime prevention operation until January 28.
Police will use e-mails to alert security guards and shopkeepers to crime trends and suspects, Luk said.
'We need to catch up with the technology era. If we can encourage the shopkeepers to actively inform us about crime by e-mail, with their prior consent, we can release such information ... other shops can be alerted about it. We hope to form a strong network for intelligence exchange,' he said.
Police will collect e-mail contacts from security firms, malls, shopkeepers and schools this week. Luk hopes the scheme will be adopted permanently, and run in other districts, if successful. The airport police district is carrying out a similar scheme.
Police recorded 16,835 miscellaneous thefts in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 6.3 per cent year-on-year.
Elderly women should be alert to scammers who offer to sell them rings and necklaces with 'disease-healing properties', which is especially common in Eastern and Southern districts, Luk said.
Fraudsters approach women on the street, pretending to be friends or relatives whom they have not seen for a long time. They claim to be selling disease-healing jewellery, and invite the victims to take off their own jewellery to measure the size.
'But once they get hold of the jewellery, they flee,' he said.
There were 84 street scam cases in the first 10 months of the year, up 68 per cent. Two involved the jewellery scam. The suspects are still at large.