Hong Kong police step up patrols after six burglaries in 24 hours see thieves make off with millions
String of break-ins at Happy Valley and Kowloon City could be the work of crime syndicates, police say
Hong Kong police stepped up patrols in Happy Valley and Kowloon City on Monday after burglars broke into six flats within 24 hours over the weekend, netting millions in cash and valuables.
Officers were looking into whether crime syndicates were behind the string of burglaries, which saw thieves gain entry to three Happy Valley properties in quick succession at the same building.
A 68-year-old male occupant of one of the homes sought help from police at 10pm on Sunday after he found his flat ransacked at Ventris Court on Ventris Road in the wealthy residential neighbourhood on Hong Kong Island.
He lost jewellery worth HK$250,000 (US$31,900) along with HK$50,000 in cash.
“The police attach great importance to burglary cases and have stepped up patrols around these areas,” a police source said.
“We are looking into whether the [Ventris Court] case is linked to serial burglaries that took place just 700 metres away.”
Between 11.30pm on Saturday and 6.10am on Sunday, police were called to three separate flats at Shan Kwong Towers on Shan Kwong Road – also in Happy Valley – after receiving reports of a break-in.
A preliminary tally showed the culprits had made off with about HK$5,500 in cash and HK$96,000 worth of jewellery from a flat on the ninth floor. But they also swiped an estimated HK$5,000 and 8,000 yuan (HK$9,900) in cash from a home five floors above, as well as watches and jewellery worth HK$159,000.
Meanwhile, a resident on the 12th floor of the building found cash and jewellery worth about HK$69,000 missing from his home.
Officers found windows on the three flats pried open and the properties ransacked.
“We believe the burglars belonged to the same group, as the block was covered in scaffolding because it was undergoing maintenance work,” the police source said.
Also, around midnight on Sunday, two break-ins on adjacent streets took place across the harbour in Kowloon City. Cash, jewellery and other valuables worth more than HK$2.6 million were stolen.
Last year there were 1,872 burglaries in Hong Kong, a 23 per cent drop on the number in 2016 and the lowest since records began in 1969. About 1,308 of these cases involved residential properties.
Luxury houses and flats in areas such as The Peak, Repulse Bay, Kowloon Tong and Deep Water Bay have increasingly been targeted in recent years.