Two Mongolian nationals, aged between 34 and 41, were arrested on Sunday after they were caught red-handed during an apparent shoplifting spree in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The thieves, a man and his female companion, were apprehended outside an H&M store on Canton Road at about 5 pm, Sing Tao Daily reports.
Police were quoted as saying that the duo was using a specially made paper bag to steal brand name clothing items from shops in the area.
An inspection revealed 18 pieces of unpaid-for clothing items inside a paper bag that was in possession of the Mongolians, according to the report.
The stolen items were estimated to be worth HK$5,000 in total.
After intercepting the shoplifters, police took the couple to their hotel room at the nearby Mirador Mansion.
In the hotel room, officers found more than 500 other stolen goods worth over HK$300,000. Inquiries led to another Mongolian member of the gang being arrested later.
The three Mongolians were believed to have arrived in Hong Kong four days ago and engaged in a series of shoplifting capers.
According to the police, the trio used special paper bags with tin foil to avoid detection by anti-theft devices installed at fashion outlets.
It is suspected that they were preparing to ship the stolen goods to mainland China and sell them.
As the Chinese New Year approaches, police plan to increase patrols in the shopping areas to deter potential thieves, said Chan Yun-kam, assistant commander of the Tsim Sha Tsui district police.
The Mongolians who were caught were clearly experienced in their trade.
According to the police, one of the visitors would hold on to a bag while the other would snip off tags from the clothing items with a small pair of scissors when shop personnel were not watching.
It is believed that the group was involved in at least 20 thefts after they arrived in Hong Kong, Ming Pao Daily News reports.
In just three days, the Mongolians stole at least 500 pieces of clothing goods, pointing to a well-planned racket.
Police are looking for possible accomplices after holding the three persons in custody.
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