25 October 2016
A plastic sheet can used to open the door equipped with an electronic lock. Photo: Apple Daily
A plastic sheet can used to open the door equipped with an electronic lock. Photo: Apple Daily

Is your apartment door equipped with electronic lock? Beware!

A smart lock developed by Samsung Electronics appears to have been outwitted by a local locksmith who uses nothing more than a hard plastic sheet to open the door of an apartment equipped with the device.

In a video clip that has gone viral on local online forums, the man, who is said to be a veteran locksmith, inserts a thin but sturdy plastic sheet, which has been rolled to give it a curved shape, into the edge of the door, Apple Daily reported.

A hole cut in the upper left corner of the sheet is then used to clutch at the door knob inside the room and open the smart lock. The man took only about 30 seconds to do it.

Apple Daily reporters, who conducted experiments to verify the man’s claims, were also able open smart-lock-equipped doors with the plastic sheet. But it took them about a minute to do so.

They conducted the experiments at the Festival City, a residential complex in Tai Wai, near Sha Tin, and at a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the doors are equipped with electronic locks similar to the Samsung device.

Some residents at the Festival City complex, which was jointly developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. and MTR Corp., expressed shock at the experiment results.

They said they would ask the property management to take measures to improve the security of the development and replace the locking devices used in their homes to prevent burglaries.

One resident, surnamed Li, said she had totally lost confidence in electronic locks and said she would immediately have the one in her home replaced.

Some members of the hotel industry have also voiced concern. Sam Lau, chairman of the Tourist Guest Houses Federation of Hong Kong, said about 150 of 1,500 hotels in the city use electronic locks. He urged those concerned to replace them with traditional combination locks.

MTR, which manages the Festival Walk complex, said it has urged the supplier of the locks to do something about the potential security problem, adding that it will assist residents in installing extra door locks if needed.

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