Nine people of Vietnamese origin were arrested by police in Hong Kong on Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than a thousand items from different shops in Kowloon.
At 3pm, police raided to two subdivided flats at 35 Un Chau Street in Sham Shui Po in Kowloon and arrested five men and four women, aged from 21 to 47, for alleged theft and handling stolen goods, Oriental Daily reported.
Seven of those arrested are asylum seekers, while two women are illegal immigrants. Three of the group were believed to have masterminded the stealing of many goods over the past two weeks.
Over a thousand items were confiscated. They ranged from rice cookers to clothes, handbags, schoolbags, medicine and snacks and were worth around HK$50,000 (US$6,398).
Police had received about 10 reports of theft from some chain stores including Japan Home, H&M, Uniqlo and some small shops with low security or limited salespeople over the past two weeks in Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po in Kowloon, Apple Daily reported.
Crime unit officers said some accomplices distracted the salesperson while others stole goods in crowded shops.
Police believe those arrested had received orders and passed stolen goods to shops owned by Vietnamese or sent other items back to Vietnam. West Kowloon police are following up on the case.