Two burglars climbed up the outside of a 26-storey building in Hong Kong, broke into a flat on the 19th floor, and stole a safe containing HK$150,000 worth of gold ornaments, police said on Tuesday.
The pair, who wore surgical masks, scaled bamboo scaffolding on the outside of the Holland Garden building on Blue Pool Road, in Happy Valley, on Monday evening while the occupants were out.
A 78-year-old man called police just before 11pm after returning home and finding the flat had been ransacked.
“A 30cm by 30cm safe, containing HK$150,000 worth of gold ornaments, was stolen from one of the bedrooms,” a police spokesman said.
The crime was captured on a security camera and officers were working to ascertain if the crooks escaped the same way as they entered. No one has been arrested so far.
According to official statistics, police handled 655 reports of burglary between January and March this year, up 74.7 per cent from 375 over the same period last year.
The number of robbery cases rose by 430 per cent to 122 in the first three months of this year from 23 in the same period in 2019.
A police source said they believed the number of burglary cases had dropped in April and May. But the source added it was likely reports of crimes, such as burglary, theft from vehicles, and robbery, would rise again after the force shifted officers from their normal duties onto the 6,000-strong riot squad late last month.
In June, two smash-and-grab gangs fled with HK$4.1 million worth of valuables in total from two jewellery stores in two robbery cases that happened in Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai on June 2 and 17 respectively.
The riot squad, set up last June to handle anti-government protests, was partly disbanded in March as the civil unrest triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill quietened down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
About 4,000 officers returned to their original posts at the time, only for the squad to be reassembled on May 24. The move came amid concerns about potential unrest tied to the impending national security law, and the anniversary of the start of last year’s protests.
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