The new commander of Sai Kung Police Station has ordered increased uniform branch patrolling of villages. Chief Inspector Bryan Yeung Yuk-leung told SAI KUNG BUZZ he introduced the new policy shortly after taking over about five months ago.
“Before moving to Sai Kung I was with the Police Tactical Unit in Kowloon East,” Bryan said. “We saw high-profile uniformed patrols are effective as a deterrent, particularly in reducing opportunistic crime. In Sai Kung I decided to carry on this policy. We do it for two reasons: To prevent crime and to reassure the public. We want them to know we are here to help.”
Bryan said most burglaries are carried out by illegal immigrants. Seventy-three cases occurred in Sai Kung last year, down from 89 in 2014. “There are no specific blackspots. The whole area is a blackspot. In our experience village houses near hillsides or streams are most vulnerable. Illegal immigrants like to hide and watch. When the lights go out, they will act.” Most burglars are opportunists, he said. If your house has a CCTV or alarm system they are likely to move to an easier target. “It is good to have a dog. I know of cases where criminals have run away once the dog starts barking.” The station commander said not all burglaries are the work of IIs. “We see from CCTV footage that some cases are done by local people. If you smell something abnormal, call us and we will check. When we get their ID numbers they know we know who they are and they will avoid committing crime in Sai Kung.”
Simple burglaries can go wrong. The most serious case was in December when a woman and her helper were tied up at a Fung Sau Road house. “After they freed themselves, they called us. It happened that we had an anti-crime operation on in the area at the time. We cordoned off the district and carried out a proper sweep. Two suspects were captured. The third escaped. Mainland police have been informed.”
Domestic incidents rose from 40 in 2014 to 68 last year. This is low compared to other districts, Bryan said. Usually incidents involve husband and wife or a lover. There were 12 cases with violence. “Just pushing or slapping. No wounding.””
This is of two kinds: 1) damage to cars or fences or whatever, and 2) cutting of incense trees. Last year 17 tree cutters were arrested. “They are paid in China to come here to do it. If we do not take it seriously, more and more of them will come. The arrests occurred because we put ambushes in the known incense tree areas.”
Last year there were three arrests for possession and four cases of trafficking. “The culprits cover a wide spectrum and are mostly users,” Bryan said. The drug seized is usually ketamine. Youngsters buy the drugs outside Sai Kung and bring it here. “It is one of the reasons for the roadblocks we do at least three times a day.” The Chief Inspector advised parents to be aware, to watch youngsters’ behaviour and if necessary, get help.
Bryan said, “They are not a significant problem in Sai Kung. They exist everywhere in Hong Kong and they exist in Sai Kung. I see no obvious triad activities here.”
He did note that the police watch carefully for car jockey operations outside the seafood restaurants. “We patrol there every day to prevent any serious stuff.” The district anti-triad squad based at Wongtaisin visits two or three times a month, particularly monitoring Ho Chung where there have been disputes over fenced and gated areas in the village.
The usual cases are of two kinds: 1) “naked chat” where someone is tempted into posing nude on social media then blackmailed, and 2) where the elderly or dim-witted are deceived into forwarding money by telephone calls, usually from China. Twenty-four cases were reported last year.
Sixteen cases last year. No serious wounding, just punch-ups, often involving alcohol.
These fell by a third last year. Bryan said most complaints concern illegal parking. He believes a crackdown on illegal parking was the reason for the complaints drop.
SEARCHES AND RESCUES
More than 90 per cent of the 210 cases last year concerned hikers. “Sai Kung is becoming more and more popular with hikers, including mainlanders and other tourists. Unfortunately many are inexperienced with no maps or proper equipment,” Bryan said.
He mentioned one case of two tourists who had gone camping in the country park. They got separated. At 10pm the police were called by a man who said his companion was lost. Teams of officers set off, but they couldn’t find him in the darkness. They went out again next morning. “He had no map, did not know the area. He had a phone but couldn’t say where he was, just gave a general description. We found him at noon in the far north of the country park camped on an isolated beach.”