Five schoolboys, including some as young as 12 years old, have been arrested on suspicion of stealing a mobile phone worth HK$10,000 (US$1,300) from a person at a Hong Kong housing estate.
One of the boys, who were aged between 12 and 16, reportedly approached the 25-year-old woman and snatched her phone outside Shek Fong House in Tsuen Wan’s Shek Wai Kok Estate at around 7.30pm on Monday.
“The victim was carrying the phone in her hand at the time. The suspect asked for directions to divert her attention and snatched her phone,” Inspector Wan Pik-yee of the Tsuen Wan criminal investigation unit said on Wednesday.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
She said an investigation showed the other four acted as lookouts. All five fled before officers arrived.
Wan said the gang sold the phone for HK$2,700 to a shop in Tsuen Fung Centre shopping arcade on Castle Peak Road in the same district and “shared the money evenly” among themselves.
Police said the woman was alone and the area was relatively quiet at the time of the incident.
The boys were picked up outside a shopping centre in the same housing estate on Tuesday night when the victim identified them while touring with officers.
Officers later recovered the stolen phone from the shop.
They were arrested for snatching – an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail under the Theft Ordinance.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the suspects were being held for questioning and had not been charged.
The number of juveniles aged between 10 and 15 arrested for crimes rose 6.8 per cent to 1,218 last year from 1,140 in 2019.
Last year, police handled 163 reports of snatching in the city, a 9.9 per cent drop from 181 in 2019.
This article Five Hong Kong schoolboys arrested for snatching woman’s HK$10,000 mobile phone at housing estate first appeared on South China Morning Post