Hong Kong police were called to a high-end block of flats in Repulse Bay on Tuesday after a flat was broken into and ransacked. Officers responded to a report of a break-in at Pine Crest on Repulse Bay Road after receiving a call from a housekeeper, 72, just after 9.15am. “It is not known what was stolen from the flat as its tenant is out of town,” a police spokesman said. Police checked the closed-circuit television footage to gather evidence in the 20-storey building. Detectives from Western criminal investigation unit are handling the case. So far, no one has been arrested. Transaction records from local property agencies show a Pine Crest flat was sold for HK$70.8 million (US$9.1 million) in August. About an hour later, officers were sent to a commercial unit in Bedford Road, Mong Kok after a member of staff found a safe had been broken open. Police said HK$17,000 was stolen from the safe and another HK$1,700 and a mobile phone taken from a drawer. Separately, a 42-year-old man was arrested by police at about 9pm on Monday when he left a commercial building on Leighton Road in Causeway Bay after allegedly breaking into a unit just hours after he arrived from mainland China. He was caught with credit cards and cash stolen from the unit. Officers also seized burglary tools from him. Investigations showed the man was also linked with 16 burglaries in commercial buildings on Hong Kong Island over the past 12 months involving a total loss of HK$500,000 in cash and valuables. The man, who holds a two-way permit, a mainland travel document used to enter Hong Kong, was still being held for questioning on Tuesday night. There has been a sharp rise in the number of break-ins reported across Hong Kong in the past six months, as anti-government protests and violent clashes occupy police resources. Police handled 2,056 reports of burglary in the first 11 months of 2019, up 44 per cent from 1,428 in the same period of 2018. The number of robberies rose by nearly 28 per cent to 170 in the first 11 months of 2019 from 133 in the same period of 2018. Since August, local police have stopped patrolling city streets on foot because of the protests and the risk of being attacked. Officers are now patrolling in police vans instead. The annual winter crime-fighting operation, during the Christmas and New Year period, was also cancelled because of police resources being tied up with protests. Hong Kong has been gripped by nearly seven months of violent street protests sparked by opposition to a now-withdrawn extraditional bill. Chief Superintendent Kenneth Kwok Ka-chuen of the force’s public relations branch said last week police recorded the lowest crime rate in 44 years in 2018, but the violent stance of rioters had pushed the city’s rule of law to the brink of total collapse.