Only in Hong Kong

The below is a report of a true story. No names have been changed to protect identities.



Previous day

We check into a very small serviced apartment in Mongkok.

Day of incident

0645 PL leaves for Tangxia.

0945 P and N leave the apartment.

1645 P returns.

1630 P discovers that cash has been taken from her luggage. Everything else, including her credit cards, passport, computer etc remain.

1647 P rings PL but he is not available to speak. Leaves message. Goes out to a scheduled appointment.

1923 PL calls P and is informed of the incident.

2111 PL returns to apartment. Finds that his carry-on, which was under the bed, has been tampered and document holder containing passport, credit cards and a thick load of RMB cash (reimbursement for an airfare) is missing. A more careful inspection reveals that the document holder had fallen from the lid of the carry-on under the bed.

2205 P returns.

2220 P rings Mongkok Police and gets put on hold for 10 minutes as they are busy. They suggest calling 999.

2230 P gets through and reports robbery.

2250 About 4 uniformed officers arrive at our 30 sq m unit. P explains what happens. Lots of walkie talkie action and note writing. Officer Wong asks other officers if they can lend their phone battery. An affirmative reply allows the investigation to proceed. Another 4 uniformed officers arrive. Some need to stand outside.  A more senior officer asks P the same questions. Two more plain clothes officers arrive.  We get some stools and watch the action from the kitchen. About 50 phone calls and CB conversations take place.

Officer Wong runs out of batteries again but since there are plenty of his colleagues around, he is able to replace his battery and continue the investigation. Officers radio for backup and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Place now looks like a murder scene from a TVB drama.

Our young, female neighbour arrives and pushes past the army of cops. I guess she is wondering what is going down.

2330 Officers squabble over who gets to ride in which police car. They are about as organised as a bunch of schoolgirls organising an outing. All leave except two who wait for the CID. One is older and stern looking. A stereotypical cop look. The other is younger, probably only recently started shaving. We discuss HK politics. Learn that the senior officer’s son is a lifeguard who is planning to spend a year in Sydney on a working holiday.

Officers tell us about some of their jobs. For example, one person called the police when their hamburger was smaller than it appeared in the photo. Others have called to say that one shop ripped them off because another offered a lower price.

We tell them that in Sydney, cops spend most of their time at McDonalds since they get free meals there. Constables seriously discuss the possibility of moving to Sydney.

0030 Two detectives arrive, let’s call them Sherlock and Watson. Sherlock is an amiable fellow dressed in a dapper fashion. Watson is younger and looks like one of those undercover cops who infiltrate triad gangs. P retells story, Sherlock furiously scribbling notes. I resist the temptation to ask him why doesn’t he have a pipe. They decide to call in the fingerprint Crime Scene Investigation Department (CSI).

In the meantime, we discuss Hong Kong politics and police leave entitlements.

0133 CSI arrives to take fingerprints.


Fingerprints are found on the door but not on P’s bag or wallet. Perpetrators must have used gloves. Fingerprints on door will be run through the CSI computer 0900 tomorrow.


More intense writing and phone calling takes place. During the breaks we find that CSI is very familiar with the drug situation in Cabramatta, Sydney and knows where to get the good heroin (opposite the railway station).

He will look at the closed circuit TV tapes but says unless the perp is recorded counting three foreign currencies in the lift, it is not likely to reveal anything. Sherlock says he thinks it is an inside job. Will interview the staff tomorrow.

In the end, we were extremely fortunate that they only took a little cash and left everything else. A new lock is being fitted to the apartment as I write. Overall it was a great drama to watch but the cost of the tickets was a bit high.

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