A citywide manhunt is on for a Hong Kong thief who was captured on video over the weekend using a home-made apparatus to reach through the window of a tenth-floor Sham Shui Po flat and snatch a handbag containing HK$1,200 (US$154) and bank cards.
In the viral video, a masked man wearing gloves and a black cap can be seen standing on a scaffolding outside the flat’s living room window and wielding a bamboo pole fixed with a metal hook to carefully lift the purse from a sofa.
The 45-second act, which took place in broad daylight on Sunday afternoon, was nearly foiled by the arrival of a 38-year-old old female tenant, who emerged from a bedroom just as the bag reached the hands of the thief.
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“Robbery! Robbery! Give the bag back to me!” she can be heard yelling as she runs towards the window to no avail.
The burglar managed to clamber down the scaffolding and flee with the handbag before officers arrived.
In addition to the cash and bank cards, the bag also contained the woman’s Hong Kong identity card and two Octopus stored-value cards, according to police, who searched the area unsuccessfully.
The scaffolding has been around the 11-storey Tung Ming Mansion for maintenance work on the outside wall facing Lai Chi Kok Road since March.
A police source said he believed the burglar climbed up the structure and used the makeshift bamboo pole to steal as he failed to enter the flat via the window, which was installed with a grille.
In the first six months of this year, police handled 741 reports of burglary across the city, involving the loss of HK$49.7 million in cash and valuables, down 35.9 per cent from 1,156 cases in the same period last year.
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