A tech company employee has admitted stealing 2kg (4.4 pounds) of pork left unattended in a shopper’s bike basket in southern China, the latest in a rash of reports about petty thefts of the staple as an epidemic devastates pig herds across the country. According to surveillance camera footage posted online, the shopper, a woman surnamed Ma, put two plastic shopping bags into her bike’s front basket before walking away in Foshan, Guangdong province. A man standing nearby with his bike watched her and took a bag of pork – valued at about 100 yuan (US$14) – out of her bike basket after she left, video site Btime.com reported on Tuesday. “The woman went into a shopping centre for a very short time, and when she returned quickly realised that the pork had disappeared,” police officer Jiang Juqi was quoted as saying. “At first, while watching the camera footage, we thought the man was just playing a prank. But then we realised that after he actually took away the pork, he went into a nearby side alley and stuffed the pork into his shoulder bag. “He returned to his bike and rode off.” Police said a 56-year-old suspect surnamed Guo admitted stealing the meat, adding that he was feeling “muddle-headed” at the time and could not believe that someone would leave pork in their bike basket so carelessly, the report said. Guo, who was on a good salary, had been put under administrative detention, it said. Pig numbers have roughly halved in China this year as African swine fever has ravaged herds. As a result, the average pork price nationwide has surged by 69 per cent since September 2017, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. An elderly woman was arrested last week for stealing pork from a market in Chaozhou, Fujian province, while another woman was filmed stealing pork from a street stall in Binzhou, Sichuan province, earlier this month. A 56-year-old woman in Huainan, Anhui province, was also detained by police for stealing pork ribs from a supermarket in late September.