The holding of travel documents would have stopped six suspects absconding Security officials were yesterday urged to review the need to empower police to impound the travel documents of suspects released on bail after six South Americans caught in an anti-theft operation at a jewellery show last week left Hong Kong. The six were among seven South Americans arrested for loitering and using forged passes at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show on Tuesday last week, after police deployed about 200 officers in an anti-theft operation at the Exhibition and Convention Centre. The five men and two women, aged between 30 and 53, from Venezuela and Colombia were released on $5,000 bail each on the day of their arrest and told to report back to police. But only a 30-year-old man turned up as requested on Wednesday this week. He was released unconditionally. Police sources said the six other suspects were found to have left Hong Kong and would face prosecution if they returned. Under the law, police cannot impound the travel documents of bailed suspects or restrict them from leaving Hong Kong. If suspects are released on bail, only a court can order their passports be confiscated. Legislator Wong Yung-kan, vice-chairman of the Legislative Council's security panel, said the Security Bureau and police should review the bail system in the wake of the incident. 'The police have worked so hard and deployed so many officers at the jewellery show but the suspects arrested jumped bail,' Mr Wong said. 'This is not good for the image of Hong Kong. I'm not saying that the police are not doing their job as it's a legal problem.' But Senior Superintendent Stephen Lee Kwan-hing, from the Hong Kong Island Regional Crime Unit, said a suspect was considered innocent until proven guilty, and the bail system was designed to give police time to investigate. 'My personal view is that the existing power of the police is sufficient and appropriate. The division of work between the police and the court is clear,' Mr Lee said. The chairman of the Local Inspectors' Association, Tony Liu Kit-ming, said there was a need to strike a balance between law enforcement and the rights of the general public.