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Crime

Two luxury homes ransacked in Hong Kong as burglars strike on The Peak and in Tai Tam

Two rings worth HK$42,000 and safe were stolen from Watford Road house on The Peak

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 4:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 7:22am

A luxury house on The Peak and an upscale flat in Tai Tam were reported to have been burgled in a five-hour period in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The two break-ins came less than 12 hours after three burglars fled empty-handed from a luxury four-storey house on Black’s Link, Happy Valley on Tuesday night when two domestic helpers discovered their raid.

Police sources said officers have stepped up patrols on Hong Kong Island following the spate of burglaries.

The latest case happened in a three-storey house on Watford Road on The Peak and came to light at 12.06pm on Wednesday when its female occupant called police. She told officers the house had been ransacked and suspicious footprints were found in the premises.

Police said two rings worth HK$42,000 (US$5,384) in total and a safe were stolen.

It was not known what the safe contained but it belonged to the student son of the house’s occupants, a French couple. The safe was found open and empty on a nearby hillside. The son is studying overseas.

At about 2.30pm, officers were still searching the area. No one has been arrested.

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About five hours earlier, police were called to a flat at the upmarket Hong Kong Parkview housing estate on Tai Tam Reservoir Road shortly before 7.30am when a domestic helper, 43, found the home had been burgled.

According to police, a window was prised open and several bedrooms had been ransacked. A spokesman said it was not known what items were stolen because the helper’s employer was out of town.

About 1.2km away from the estate, a house on Black’s Link, Happy Valley was targeted by three men soon after 10pm on Tuesday. Investigators said the three intruders made their escape when the two helpers discovered them and called police.

Hearing a noise, the helpers went to check and spotted three men climbing over a surrounding wall and fleeing on a hillside. A toilet window was broken.

Officers mounted a search but no one was arrested. The house owner was out of town.

At about 10.30am on Tuesday, police were called to an industrial unit in Yip Kan Street, Aberdeen after a safe containing HK$1.6 million (US$205,100) worth of gold bars and diamonds was stolen along with 10 bottles of red wine worth HK$100,000 from the flat.

In another incident, HK$7 million worth of computer components was reported stolen from a warehouse in Kin Fat Street, Tuen Mun at about 3pm.

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The number of burglaries reported in the city fell by 17.4 per cent to 808 in the first half of this year, marking a record low since half-year crime statistics were first kept in 1977. About 70 per cent of this year’s cases involved residential premises.

Police said burglaries involving losses totalling at least HK$500,000 also dropped to eight in the first half of this year, from 13 in the same period last year.

In recent years, burglars have targeted luxury homes and flats in upscale neighbourhoods such as The Peak, Repulse Bay, Kowloon Tong and Deep Water Bay.

Justice minister Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah and her husband, engineer Otto Poon Lok-to, were among the victims. On Boxing Day in 2016, Cheng’s house at Villa De Mer in Tuen Mun and Poon’s home next door were burgled.