Police say people should stay alert while using ATMs. Two Indonesians have been arrested for six snatch and grab thefts in the city. Photo: Reuters

Two Indonesians alleged to have made off with HK$270,000 (US$34,425) after robbing people in Hong Kong as they withdrew cash from automatic teller machines have ended up with their hands cuffed.

Police say the two worked in tandem to snatch money, with one touching victims to distract them while the other immediately grabbed their wallets, usually near bank branches or ATMs when people had just withdrawn a large amount of cash.

Some HK$270,000 was stolen from ATM users who were distracted and had their wallets snatched. Photo: RTHK

The touch-and-grab thefts triggered a rare police warning for members of the public to stay alert after using ATMs and avoid looking at mobile phones while taking out money.

Banks have also beefed up security at their branches in the suburbs.

Police managed to locate the pair after reviewing a large amount of CCTV footage, tracking them down to Tai Po in northern New Territories earlier this week. The two were loitering in a street with several bank branches and ATMs and believed to be scouting out next victim.

Police believe the pair – known only as Winapa, 33, and Jinanhar, 38 – committed at least six snatch-and-grab thefts in different parts of Hong Kong.

Winapa had absconded after being given bail following a hearing for a previous theft charge four years ago, while Jinanhar has overstayed in Hong Kong after violating a deportation order, according to Apple Daily.

The two appeared in court on Friday for mention over the six alleged thefts and were detained in custody.

The police yet to say if the men are part of a syndicate or if further arrests may be made in connection with the thefts.

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