An alleged con artist accused of masquerading as a plainclothes policeman to steal mobile phones from young people in Sham Shui Po, Sau Mau Ping, Tsuen Wan and North Point was arrested yesterday.
Police believe the man stole smartphones worth a total of HK$31,000 from six people, including a secondary school pupil and a university student, over the past three months.
Usually striking in the afternoon, the jobless man preyed mainly on teenagers carrying trendy and expensive handsets such as iPhones.
"The victims were approached on the streets or inside fast-food restaurants and then accused of acting as drug couriers or triad members before being taken to an alley," said Chief Inspector Paul Ng Yu-fan of the Sham Shui Po district crime squad.
Ng said that after the youngsters handed over their mobile phones, the conman would then walk off. "We believe he cashed in the phones with street hawkers," Ng said.
A 40-year-old Hongkonger was identified as the suspect after detectives studied surveillance camera images and similar cases.
The man was picked up at his home in Tat Hong House on Po Tat Estate, Sau Mau Ping, at about 8am yesterday. He was being held at Sham Shui Po police station last night but had not been charged.
The six male victims were aged between 12 and 25.
The Sham Shui Po district crime squad is investigating whether there were victims who have not yet sought help. Victims can contact officers on 2746 3455.
Impersonating a police officer and theft are offences punishable with up to six months and 10 years in jail respectively.