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Crime

Police Tactical Unit carry out air and land search following latest break-in on upmarket Hong Kong Island property

  • Search of hillsides on The Peak after burglar flees luxury home on Mount Kellett Road empty-handed
  • The break-in was latest in string of burglaries targeting high-end neighbourhoods in the city
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 2:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 10:58pm

A robber triggered a security alarm and fled empty-handed from a luxury house on The Peak on Wednesday, prompting an air and land search in the area.

Police were called to the property on Mount Kellett Road at 12.18am. It was the latest in a string of break-ins in the city’s well-heeled neighbourhoods.

“A 62-year-old security guard went to check and found a man fleeing from the scene,” a police spokeswoman said.

She said initial investigations showed the alarm was activated when one of the doors was prised open. No items were stolen from the house.

Officers immediately scoured the area, but no arrest was made.

At about 10am, plain-clothes and uniformed officers, including personnel from the Police Tactical Unit, mounted a search of nearby hillsides with the help of a helicopter. Police said the search ended at 1pm and no one had been arrested.

The case was classified as an attempted burglary. Detectives from Central district criminal investigation unit were handling the case.

One of the owners of the house is Arthur Kwok Chi-shun, who is a former commander of the Auxiliary Police Force and a descendant of the founder of the Wing On Company, one of Hong Kong’s leading department stores. He lives in the house with his family and was home at the time of the incident, according to a law enforcement source.

Officers are investigating whether the case is linked to a series of break-ins targeting luxury houses and upscale flats on Hong Kong Island in recent weeks.

A spate of burglaries in the first week of this month also prompted police to launch an anti-burglary overnight operation from October 4 to 6.

Burglaries strike two Hong Kong luxury homes in Repulse Bay in latest of spate of break-in

On the first night of the air and land operation, two intruders entered a three-storey house on Repulse Bay Road and made off with HK$120,000 (US$15,310) worth of valuables and cash.

That was less than 24 hours after HK$80,000 worth of jewellery was reported stolen from another house on the same road. The two houses are about 2km apart.

Last Wednesday, HK$70,000 in valuables was reported stolen from two flats in the same residential block on South Bay Road, Repulse Bay.

On October 3, a three-storey house on Watford Road on The Peak was burgled. Two rings, worth a total of HK$42,000, 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 in the upmarket Hong Kong Parkview housing estate on Tai Tam Reservoir Road after a domestic helper found the home had been burgled. It was not known what items had been taken, because the helper’s employer was out of town.

And on October 2, three burglars fled empty-handed from a luxury four-storey house on Black’s Link, Happy Valley, when two domestic helpers surprised them in the act.

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

According to police, the number of reported burglaries 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 compiled in 1977. The force said burglaries involving thefts of at least HK$500,000 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.