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Crime

Police launch three-day operation to tackle break-ins at high-end Hong Kong homes – but burglars still manage to pounce

On first night of operation, pair sneak into Repulse Bay house and escape with HK$120,000 worth of valuables and cash

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 7:41pm

A spate of break-ins targeting luxury houses and upscale flats on Hong Kong Island has prompted police to launch a three-day air and land anti-burglary operation that began on Thursday night, according to sources.

But on the first night of the operation, two burglars sneaked into a three-storey house on Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay and escaped with HK$120,000 (US$15,384) worth of valuables and cash in the early hours of Friday.

The house’s occupants, a couple, their teenage children and a domestic helper, only discovered the raid when they woke at about 7am.

“Surveillance camera footage showed two men wearing caps climbed through a window into the ground floor of the house,” a source said.

The pair escaped with more than 10 items of jewellery including rings worth HK$100,000, two iPhones and HK$8,000 in local and US currency.

Officers were called in shortly before 7.30am after the family found the items had been stolen.

Police searched the area, but no arrests were made. Detectives from Western police criminal investigation unit are handling the case.

The source said officers were investigating whether the pair were linked to other recent break-ins.

The burglary happened less than 24 hours after HK$80,000 worth of jewellery was reported stolen from another house on Repulse Bay Road about 1.30pm on Thursday. The two houses are about 2km apart.

Three held and HK$9 million in illegal drugs seized in village house raid

On Wednesday, a three-storey house on Watford Road on The Peak was burgled and two rings worth HK$42,000 in total and a safe were stolen. The occupants, a French couple, called police at 12.06pm.

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. It was not known what items were taken because the helper’s employer was out of town.

On Tuesday night, three burglars fled empty-handed from a luxury four-storey house on Black’s Link, Happy Valley when two domestic helpers discovered their raid.

In response to the break-ins, police mounted the three-day operation, according to another source.

“During the operation, a government helicopter will be deployed to carry out aerial surveillance and patrols by uniformed and plain-clothes officers will also be enhanced,” he said.

Plain-clothes officers will also carry out night surveillance from hidden positions.

Safe containing HK$1.6 million in gold bars and diamonds stolen

The source said the operation would be extended if necessary.

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.

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.