The residence of France’s consul general in Hong Kong, Alexandre Giorgini, became the latest target in a string of burglaries on Wednesday when his two-storey house on The Peak was broken into.
Initial information showed the Mount Cameron Road house was burgled during lunchtime and more than HK$3,000 (S$520) in local and foreign currency was stolen, according to a police source.
Officers were called to the house after receiving a report of a burglary at 3.17pm, according to the source.
“An initial investigation showed a burglar scaled over the surrounding wall at the back of the house, then forced open a window to gain entry and steal,” the source said. It was understood the thief left the house through the front door.
Another source said the consul general of France was not home at the time of the raid, and household staff had not seen the intruder.
“His maids were in the house, but they did not bump into the culprit,” the source said.
Police scouted the area and checked security camera footage to gather evidence, but no arrest was made.
The case is being handled by the Central criminal investigation unit.
The Post has approached the Hong Kong office of the French consulate general for comment.
According to the consulate’s website, Giorgini was appointed consul general of France in Hong Kong and Macau in July 2018 and took office two months later, replacing Eric Berti.
There was a significant rise in reports of burglary and robbery across the city in the second half of 2019, with the force blaming anti-government protests for exhausting police resources.
Police handled 2,056 reports of burglary in the first 11 months of 2019, up 44 per cent from 1,428 in the same period of 2018.
On December 27, four houses in Tuen Mun were burgled, with one homeowner losing eight luxury watches valued at HK$1.5 million. On New Year’s Eve, police were called to a high-end residential building in Repulse Bay where a flat had been ransacked.
Robberies rose by nearly 28 per cent to 170 in the first 11 months of 2019 from 133 in the same period a year earlier.
Chief Superintendent Kenneth Kwok Ka-chuen of the force’s public relations branch said last month that the violence of rioters had pushed the city’s rule of law to the brink of total collapse.
Hong Kong has been gripped by seven months of social unrest sparked by opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed the transfer of suspects to stand trial in mainland China, among other jurisdictions.
Demonstrations have repeatedly ended in clashes between anti-government protesters and police.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.