School theft alarm sounded

Cynthia Wan

Schools are being urged to step up security to prevent the theft of newly installed computer equipment.

In the first 10 months of this year, there were 49 burglaries at schools in East Kowloon. At least four involved computer equipment.

The total value of stolen computer equipment was $160,000 - a large portion of the $410,000 worth of property stolen from schools.

Most culprits were teenagers who broke into schools after dark, according to Senior Inspector Matthew Leung Hon-chiu, assistant regional crime prevention officer.

'Most of the schools burgled are situated in old housing estates which have inadequate security facilities,' Mr Leung said.

However, schools are worried fire safety rules could make it difficult to install security facilities.

'We wanted to install window bars and put in more locks, but the Fire Services Department says it would be dangerous for our students in case of an emergency,' said Patrick Lai Shu-ho, principal of the Mission Covenant Church Holm Glad College in Kwun Tong.

To improve information technology education, each secondary school has been allocated 80 computers. Primary schools have been allocated 40 computers.