A Lam Tin jewellery store was robbed for the third time in less than three years yesterday in the latest of a series of smash-and-grab raids in Hong Kong.
Sang Fuk jewellery shop lost about 20 gold items when two men smashed the display window with a sledgehammer at about 6.15am. A police source said the owners had failed to heed advice to keep the valuables in a vault after the last two raids.
The intruders, about 1.65 metres and 1.7 metres tall, were disturbed by a security guard who went to the shop on the first floor of the Kai Tin Shopping Centre on hearing a loud noise. But they were able to escape with their loot, which has yet to be valued.
"[The guard] saw the two men stuffing something into their bags from the shop. As he shouted at them, they fled on foot," a police spokeswoman said. One carried a sledgehammer.
They left a 50cm by 50cm hole in the window. Police searched the area but no one was arrested.
Officers yesterday searched surveillance footage in an effort to identify the pair.
The two previous raids also occurred at about 6am as the shopping centre opened its doors. Kwun Tong detectives are investigating whether the three cases are linked.
In August, HK$200,000 in valuables was taken when two men smashed the display window while a third kept lookout. There was a similar raid in August 2011, but police did not give an estimate of that haul's value.
Yesterday's case is also the third such smash-and-grab in the city in six weeks. Two similar raids were reported in Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun last month.
On March 7, three thieves smashed their way into a shop with sledgehammers at the City Landmark, Tsuen Wan and stole handbags and wallets worth a total of HK$440,000.
On March 2, a jewellery shop was raided in Tuen Mun and HK$275,000 worth of jewellery was stolen.
Last year, there were three smash-and-grab incidents.
In December, police arrested two of three robbers who tried to steal watches worth HK$9.1 million from a shop on Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. They used a three-foot-long sledgehammer to smash a display window and grab 28 watches.
The largest single haul from a smash-and-grab happened in August when an Oriental Watch outlet at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Tsim Sha Tsui lost 240 Tudor watches worth a total of HK$6.5 million in a three-minute raid by a group of three, who left behind a sledgehammer and a shopping trolley. In July, three raiders using hammers carried in a shopping trolley made off with HK$500,000 in goods from a jewellery store in Tin Shui Wai.