A 53-year-old man accused of stealing HK$70,000 (US$9,000) in cash and valuables from Hong Kong flats over three months was arrested on Monday during what police said was his 10th burglary.
The suspect was detained as he committed his latest offence in a flat in Ka Wai Chuen – a Hung Hom public housing estate – on Ma Tau Wai Road, according to police.
His identity was established by officers from the Hong Kong Island regional crime unit investigating nine previous cases from as many public housing estates across the city between last October and January this year.
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Senior Inspector Lo Oi-kin, of the regional crime unit, said investigation showed that the nine cases were linked, and each time the suspect tailed residents to enter the buildings, targeting flats that were unlocked.
“The thief entered these flats to carry out raids without the use of any tool,” she said.
She said in one case more than HK$20,000 was stolen.
After examining security camera footage, police picked up the man on Monday as he entered a flat to carry out another raid, this time at the Hung Hom housing estate.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the suspect was still being held for questioning and had not been charged.
Lo urged householders to keep security in mind ahead of Lunar New Year, and take preventive measures such as locking doors and windows.
“Thieves are opportunists and they usually choose an easy target,” she said.
On the night of January 12, police were called to two separate cases in the space of an hour at residences in Ta Kwu Ling and Tuen Mun, after tenants returned home to find their safes had been stolen.
Police said the two safes carried HK$680,000 in cash and valuables.
The break-ins came less than 24 hours after a similar attempt to steal a safe in Stanley was foiled by a tenant’s barking dog.
At about 2.19am on January 12, a gang of burglars attempted to steal a safe from a three-storey house in Stanley, alerting the dog which woke up its owner. Four men were arrested within 30 minutes. No valuables were stolen in the incident.
Police handled 1,841 burglaries across the city in the first 10 months of 2020, up nearly 9 per cent from the 1,690 reported over the same period in 2019.
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