DNA evidence obtained from cigarette butts dropped at crime scenes led to the conviction of a 'professional burglar' with 20 similar convictions. Saliva on the butts matched 58-year-old Chiu Chiu's DNA, the District Court heard. Chiu, who lives in Central, earlier pleaded guilty to three joint charges of burglary with Wong Keng-yam, 39. All three charges related to burglaries on November 27 last year involving a ginseng drug store, a telecom shop and a jewellery shop, all in Chi Kam Court, Hau Wong Road, Kowloon City. The pair fled with dried seafood products and valuable Chinese medicine worth a total of more than $1.4 million, plus jewellery and 192 mobile phones with accessories worth a total of almost $190,000. Chiu also earlier pleaded guilty to burgling a school and two commercial buildings between January 1999 and August 24 last year. Wong, who had 19 previous convictions for theft and burglary, had earlier pleaded guilty to another burglary on November 16 last year. The court heard that police linked Chiu to cigarette butts he discarded during the three burglaries he committed alone. On November 28 last year, police acting on information arrested Wong at his rented flat in Shamshuipo. They arrested Chiu one month later. Judge Chua Fi-lan adopted a higher starting point than the usual 2.5 years for both defendants because she said they were 'professional and persistent burglars'. She jailed Chiu for three years and four months and Wong for two years and six months. 'It has become a way of life for both of them . . . the public must be protected from them,' she said.