LCQ11: Combat and prevention of burglary

     Following is a question by the Hon Jimmy Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (November 23):


     Recently, a number of burglaries of residential properties have occurred in various districts.  Among such cases, items of a total value of several hundred thousand dollars were stolen from a villa and at least nine burglaries occurred in one housing estate in a fortnight.  Quite a number of members of the public have expressed concern that the law and order situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of a breakdown by District Council district of (i) the number of reports received by the Police on burglaries of residential properties and the estimated total value of the items stolen, as well as (ii) the number of such type of cases detected by the Police and the estimated total value of the items recovered, in each of the past three years;

(2) whether the Police have, in light of the recent spate of burglaries of residential properties, taken targeted measures to curb such type of crimes, e.g. deploying more police officers to patrol districts with high burglary rates, and stepping up liaison with property management companies and District Fight Crime Committees; if the Police have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether, in respect of burglaries of residential properties involving stolen items of a total value of $500,000 or more, it has assessed if the detection rate for such cases is unsatisfactory; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the difficulties encountered by the Police in investigating such type of cases and the ways to resolve such difficulties?


     The Police pay close attention to burglary cases which occurred in different premises.  In addition to actively taking measures against such crimes, the Police have been providing home security and anti-burglary advice to the public through various channels.  My reply to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) The Police's crime statistics are broken down by Police District.  Figures of burglary cases in domestic premises by Police District in the past three years (from 2014 to August 2016) are at Annex 1.  The amount of loss involved and the detection rate are at Annex 2.

     On the whole, the number of burglary cases in domestic premises in Hong Kong has been on a downward trend in the past three years.  In some cases, the Police successfully recovered the stolen properties, but did not maintain figures of the total value of the recoveries.

(2) The Police have been making efforts in the combat and prevention of burglary on many fronts.  The Police will, in the light of crime trend analysis, step up patrols and inspection of security facilities in places with a higher risk of burglary, as well as watch out for and intercept any suspicious persons.  During long holidays, frontline uniformed and plain-clothes police officers will step up anti-burglary patrols to avoid giving chances to burglars.  To tackle burglary cases in domestic premises, the Police will continue to enhance intelligence gathering and take proactive intelligence-led law enforcement actions at the opportune time.  In the first eight months of this year, the Police arrested a total of 291 burglary suspects, an increase of 15.5 per cent over the same period last year.

     As for publicity and education, the Police raise the public's crime prevention awareness through a multi-agency approach.  The Police will continue to work closely with District Councils, District Fight Crime Committees, the Housing Department and the Hong Kong Housing Society, District Offices, owners' corporations, mutual aid committees, property management companies and village offices, etc. to launch anti-crime publicity.  These include distributing anti-burglary leaflets in different languages to residents and organising seminars on security matters.

     In respect of residential burglary prevention, the Police have from time to time conducted anti-burglary talks for property management companies and their security personnel and maintained close contact with them to relay the latest crime information, including trends and modi operandi of burglary cases.  Furthermore, all Police Districts and Regional Crime Prevention Offices inspect the anti-burglary measures of high-risk locations and premises under maintenance or with on-going scaffolding works, and offer relevant security advice.  All Police Districts will continue to organise "Security Guards Alertness Campaign" in a bid to test and enhance security guards' alertness against strangers entering the premises under their watch.  In addition, the Police put up posters at the lobbies of public housing estates and private residential buildings to remind the public to step up home security.  To tackle burglary cases in rural areas, the Police will continue to work with villages to combat village house burglary through distribution of "door and window contact alarms" and implementation of "One-Village-One-Officer Scheme", etc.

     The Police call on the public to remain vigilant at all times to prevent their premises from being burgled, regardless of the types of residence.  The Police will continue to collaborate with different community stakeholders and disseminate anti-burglary messages to the public and the property management sector through different means, such as Police Magazine, Hong Kong Police (HKP) website, HKP YouTube channel, HKP mobile application, HKP Facebook and security equipment exhibitions.

(3) The Police are aware that burglars tend to leave few traces for investigation.  Some burglary cases may have happened for quite a while by the time the victims discover that their premises have been burgled.  Such cases are more difficult to detect due to the loss of evidence and clues for investigation over time.  In this connection, prevention is the most effective way to combat burglary cases.  The Police will continue to step up efforts in publicity and education to remind the public to ensure their home security at all times.  In case of a burglary, a report should be made to the Police as quickly as possible and any damage of on-the-spot evidence should be avoided so that the Police can take follow-up actions.

Ends/Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:55