Two bus passengers in Hong Kong almost fell victim to a new breed of thieves who use paper cutters to slice open the trouser pockets of their targets.
Sing Tao Daily reports that the pickpocket attempts took place on two separate buses on Sunday as passengers were immersed in their mobile phones.
In the first case, a 27-year-old man said he boarded a No. 212 bus from the terminus at Whampoa Garden at around 2pm and was heading toward Sham Shui Po.
As he went up to the upper deck while speaking on a phone, the passenger, who identified himself as Richard, said he saw someone follow him closely.
Then he saw a stranger come and sit beside him, squeezing into a two-seater.
Holding a big backpack, the man pushed Richard closer to the bus window. Before long, Richard sensed that the man was moving his right hand suspiciously underneath the backpack.
Richard instinctively buttoned up his trouser pocket that contained his wallet. The move must have alerted the other passenger, for he got off the bus in the next station.
When Richard inspected his clothing later, he found his wallet safe but discovered to his horror that the trouser was cut open near the back pocket to reveal a palm-size hole.
He reported the matter to the police, who said they were quite surprised as they had not heard something like this before.
Later on the same day, another bus passenger also reported a similar pickpocket attempt.
In that incident, a man surnamed Cheung said he boarded a bus from Tsim Sha Tsui at around noon and was going to Hang Hau in Tseung Kwan O.
As Cheung was sitting in a four-seater on the lower deck, he saw two men carrying backpacks board the bus near Austin Road.
One of them sat next to Cheung and the other right opposite. The two men started chatting, but Cheung felt some strange pressure against his bottom. He then shifted his position so that his wallet would rest firmly in the back pocket.
Cheung said the two men got off the bus after apparently realizing they would not be able to get anything from him.
Like Richard, Cheung discovered that his trouser pocket was cut open.
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