The crime rate in Hong Kong surged almost 20 per cent year-on-year for January and February,with quick-cash crimes such as pick-pocketing more than doubling. The increase followed last year's 3.2 per cent rise in the crime rate, to 1,120 per 100,000. That rise bucked a downward trend since 1999. According to the latest police data, there were 13,919 crime reports in the first two months of this year, 19.9 per cent more than in the same period last year. The overall rise was partly due to a surge in violent crime, which rose 12.7 per cent from the first two months of last year, to 2,385. Robberies fell 12 per cent to 454, while homicides dropped from 10 to six and rapes from 13 to six. But sharp rises were recorded in quick-cash crimes, with pickpocketing cases rising 102 per cent to 273.