Camouflaged police hide in bushes to catch serial Lamma Island burglar

Officers have stepped up surveillance measures after seven reported break-ins over the past week, the Post has been told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 11:11pm

Camouflaged police officers have been hiding in the undergrowth in wait for a burglar on Lamma Island in response to a spate of break-ins over the past seven days, the Post has been told.

Police have also stepped up round-the-clock patrols by uniformed and plain-clothes officers on the island and appealed to residents to increase security at home after seven reports of burglaries since Thursday last week, according to police sources.

A force insider believed a lone burglar, still at large, was behind the break-ins because of their similar modus operandi. More than HK$220,000 in cash and valuables was stolen in four of the cases and no valuables were stolen in the other three.

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He said investigations indicated the suspected raider climbed into the targeted homes by prying open windows with a screwdriver and he usually struck between dinner time and midnight.

“The burglar seemed to be familiar with the environment on the island. We don’t rule out that he lives there,” he said.

It is understood the victims included a freelance British teacher, a Dutch artist and a local computer programmer.

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Four of the cases happened in the village of Tai Peng San Chuen on the island, according to police.

The latest case was discovered at about 10.30am on Thursday when its female tenant, 62, returned home in Tai Peng San Chuen and found it had been ransacked. Police said jewellery worth about HK$80,000 was stolen.

The most serious case happened on Friday last week as HK$143,000 in cash and valuables including 30 watches were stolen from a house in the same village. It came to light at 11.30pm on Friday last week when its tenant, 39, returned home after work.

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One of the three attempted break-ins also happened in this village on Thursday last week. The intruder climbed into the first-floor balcony of the house at about 10pm when its female tenant was watching television. He pried open a window and tried to snatch valuables from the flat but was discovered by the tenant. He fled empty-handed.

Another source said there was only a small number of burglaries on the island each year and most of the houses were not fitted with surveillance cameras or security systems.

He appealed to residents to stay alert and improve security if necessary.

Police figures show there were 678 reports of burglary across the city in the first four months of this year, a 16.9 per cent drop compared with 816 cases in the same period of last year.