45-year-old chef arrested for a string of 13 burglaries involving total loss of HK$430,000

Yat Chui Hin

29th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong police have successfully cracked a series of 14 burglary cases that have occurred across various districts in the city since last year. Four male suspects have been apprehended, and the cases involve a total estimated loss of approximately HK$430,000 in cash and valuables. Among the suspects, a 45-year-old chef is believed to have committed 13 of the burglaries, resulting in a combined loss of HK$310,000. The other three suspects, who are related as uncle and nephews, are accused of burglarizing a restaurant at Pak Tin Commercial Centre in the Whitefield Estate, Sham Shui Po, on Sunday. They made off with over HK$120,000 in cash and a significant amount of high-end liquor. After the arrest of the four suspects, the police were able to recover some of the stolen items.

According to the police, within the past month (from 27th January to 22nd February), they received a total of seven burglary cases targeting street shops, including convenience stores, restaurants, and noodle shops in Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, and Kowloon City. The perpetrators used tools to disable the control switches of the shop shutters and then gained entry through the front door, stealing cash from the cash registers and other valuable items. Upon receiving the reports, the Serious Crime Unit of the West Kowloon Regional Headquarters immediately launched an investigation. They discovered that the burglars would choose indirect routes and utilise various modes of transportation to evade detection. Additionally, they would cover their faces when passing by surveillance cameras, making it more challenging for the authorities to identify them. However, through in-depth intelligence analysis and extensive review of CCTV footage, the police successfully identified the suspects’ movements and believe they are connected to five similar burglary cases that occurred in Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui, and Kwai Chung over the past year.

In the early hours of yesterday (27th), the Serious Crime Unit of the West Kowloon Regional Headquarters conducted a coordinated operation in the Kwai Chung area and apprehended a suspect who had just committed a burglary. Upon searching him, they found a screwdriver, a pair of black gloves, and approximately HK$14,000 in cash. The 45-year-old suspect, who claimed to be a chef named Lau, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary. Inspector Ngan Yim-bok stated that after the restaurant owner in Kwai Chung tallied the losses, it was confirmed that all the stolen items had been recovered. Lau is implicated in a total of 13 burglary cases, involving a loss of approximately HKD 184,000 in cash and around HKD 126,000 worth of computers, cigarettes, and other items. Lau is currently under investigation and will face nine counts of “burglary” when he appears in the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday, the 29th.

Regarding the burglary at the Yat Chui Hin restaurant in the Pak Tin Estate, Sham Shui Po, on Sunday (25th), the police revealed that the restaurant manager had inspected and secured all the entrances as usual before leaving the premises around 11pm. When the manager returned to the restaurant at 7am the next day (26th) to open for business, they discovered signs of a search in the manager’s office, and a safe inside the office had been pried open. After conducting an inventory check, it was determined that HK$100,000 in cash and 18 bottles of expensive liquor worth HKD 20,000, stored in a glass display cabinet, had been stolen. The restaurant manager immediately reported the incident to the police. The stolen high-end liquors included Maotai and whisky.

Following an investigation, the police arrested three male suspects connected to the burglary at the Pak Tin Commercial Centre in Sham Shui Po. The arrests were made at their hideout, where the police seized approximately HK$44,000 in cash, 12 bottles of high-end liquor, and various burglary tools. The three arrested individuals, aged between 29 and 64, are uncle and nephews. The 64-year-old and 61-year-old suspects claimed to be unemployed, while the 29-year-old suspect claimed to work in the information technology industry. It is understood that the 64-year-old suspect has ties to organised crime.