Mongkok and Wan Chai prove to be the favourite areas for thieves, police say Pickpocketing reports soared nearly 90 per cent in the first 11 months of this year, with Mongkok and Wan Chai recording the largest number of cases, police say. There were 1,463 cases between January and November, 88 per cent more than the 777 for the same period last year. Many of the thefts were in the Kowloon West region where 490 cases were reported. Hong Kong island accounted for 400 incidents. Among individual districts, Mongkok topped the list with 217 cases, followed by 203 in Wan Chai and 143 in Yau Ma Tei. Senior Inspector Peggy Yip Ching-han, of the police Crime Prevention Bureau, said pickpockets were attracted to the busy districts' streets and shopping malls. She said the number of cases at train stations, on the MTR and KCRC rose from 53 in the first 11 months of last year to 149 for the same period this year. However, Senior Inspector Yip played down the number of pickpocketing cases on trains and at stations, saying 'although there is a sharp increase in percentage, the absolute number is not big'. She believed the surge was partly related to a rise in the number of passengers on public transport, such as mainlanders who travelled to Hong Kong by train following the implementation of the 'individual traveller' policy in July. Senior Inspector Yip said police had stepped up crime-prevention publicity during the festive season. She reminded the public to take proper care of their property. She said enforcement action had also been strengthened. High-risk areas identified by police include Pacific Place, the Peak Tower, MTR stations, Nathan Road, Dundas Street, Fa Yuen Street, Harbour City and New Town Plaza. Police emphasised that such high-risk zones had not necessarily recorded a high number of pickpocketing cases recently, but were defined by the high flow of people through the area. The surge in pickpocketing has contributed to an overall rise of 28.4 per cent in theft cases - from 29,140 in the first 11 months of last year to 37,412 for the same period this year. Other theft categories include bag snatching, theft from shops and vehicles, and miscellaneous theft. Senior Inspector Yip said there had been a 6 per cent drop in vehicle thefts to 855 cases. The number of burglary reports in the first 11 months of this year rose 10.4 per cent to 8,382.