Four suspected members of a Hong Kong burglary gang that recruited illegal immigrants from the mainland to raid luxury flats in the city were arrested on Thursday, according to police.
The four men, including two illegal immigrants from the mainland, were picked up on a hillside in Tsz Wan Shan at around midday. An initial investigation showed they were linked to a break-in where a Harbourfront Horizon flat in Hung Hom was burgled and valuables were stolen, police said.
It is understood the four men put up a struggle at the scene but were eventually overpowered by officers. Police said some of the stolen property from the Hung Hom case were recovered.
At about 3pm, more than 50 officers were scouring a hillside off Po Kong Village Road near Fu Shan Estate in Tsz Wan Shan in an effort to find the mainland suspects’ hideout. A tracker dog was also deployed.
A police spokesman said at 4pm that officers were still investigating what had been stolen from the Hung Hom flat.
As of 4pm, the suspects – two Hongkongers and two mainlanders – were being held for questioning and none had yet been charged.
Detectives from the Kowloon West regional unit were handling the case.
The incidents happened in 10 days before the start of the annual police campaign against crimes such as burglary during the coming festive season.
Between December 17 and February 25, officers will set up patrols across the city and set up observatory posts in high-risk locations in addition to conducting an anti-crime publicity campaign.
Last month, a painter and mezzo-soprano became the city’s latest victim of a high-profile break-in after her luxury flat in Wan Chia was burgled and jewellery worth about HK$850,000 was stolen.
Luxury houses and flats in areas such as The Peak, Repulse Bay, Kowloon Tong and Deep Water Bay have been targeted by burglars in recent years. The number of such crimes in the city with losses totalling at least HK$500,000 in each case climbed from 31 in 2015 to 54 last year. There were 13 such cases in the first six months of this year.
According to official statistics, police handled 1,569 reports of burglary across the city in the first 10 months of this year, down 21.5 per cent compared with the figure in the same period last year.