One man and two women from Chile were arrested on Saturday by Hong Kong police over at least five alleged cases of theft since late last year.
The latest case the gang is alleged to have been involved with was when a 67-year-old Hong Kong man who lost 40,000 Renimbi (US$5,972) during an elevator ride in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island, the Sing Tao Daily reported.
On February 19, the man went to an exchange shop on Connaught Road West to get some Hong Kong dollars exchanged to Renimbi. He put the money in a bag and carried it home. A woman from the gang followed the man and they entered an elevator together. She allegedly used a paper cutter to slash the bag and steal the money inside.
Police checked surveillance camera footage and located the suspects. They raided a guesthouse in Mong Kok, Kowloon, on Saturday and arrested three Chileans, a man aged 67 and two women aged 35 and 39.
Four luxury branded handbags, a backpack and mobile phones were confiscated inside the guesthouse. The gang, which arrived in Hong Kong last December, was believed to have been involved in a number of thefts in Central and Admiralty recently. A Russian tourist told police that his wallet containing credit cards was stolen in a pub in Lan Kwai Fong in Central on January 9, adding that the thieves used his credit cards to buy goods worth about HK$190,000.
On February 6, a couple from mainland China reported they lost two suitcases on a footbridge in Western District. The valuables they lost were worth about HK$30,000. Officers believed the gang had already sent the stolen items home and suspect more people are involved. They will investigate whether any local people were involved.