Ten undercover HK cops trailed suspected pickpockets from PH
At least 10 undercover policemen trailed the five suspected Filipino pickpockets from Wan Chai to Central until they were arrested in Admiralty.
A police officer told District Court Judge David Dufton on February 11 that he and at least nine of his colleagues, who were in civilian clothes, trailed the suspects after he noticed them acting suspiciously inside the Wan Chai MTR.
The policeman testified at the trial of the five defendants—Z.S. Aviles, R.D. Linambos, A.C. Gerodias, M.M. Camacho, and D.N. Tagalo—after they were charged with attempted theft for allegedly trying to steal the wallet of a Korean tourist at the MTR station in Central in April last year. They denied the accusation.
“They were paying attention to the people going up and down the escalator (at the Wan Chai MTR) which caused me to pay attention to them,” the officer said.
He said they later went down to the concourse going to the trains before going up again and leaving the station.
They then boarded the tram going to Central and he followed them to Worldwide House in Central, where a colleague took over the lead from him in monitoring the tourists.
It was this colleague who saw the suspects allegedly surround the Korean on the escalator going down to the trains bound for Tsuen Wan. Aviles allegedly then tried to get the wallet from her backpack but she failed because the wallet was tied to the tourist’s bag.
“I saw (Aviles) take out the wallet from within the backpack. And then, (she) let go. Her hand let go of the wallet,” the policeman said.
He added that, as the Korean was walking to the train, she noticed that her wallet was hanging from her unzipped backpack, and so she put it inside her bag.
“She discovered that the wallet was hanging in midair. She put the wallet back in the bag and zipped it again,” the police officer added.
The police then arrested the suspects, who boarded the train Tsuen Wan, and the police brought them to the police outpost at the Admiralty MTR station.
But at the District Court, the five tourists denied the charges. The police said there were no CCTV footage of the incident at the Central MTR station.
The second defendant—Linambos—said they were looking at the passengers at the Wan Chai MTR station because their colleague—Camacho—had gone missing.
“Tumingin-tingin ako baka Makita ko yung kasama naming nawawala,” Linambos said, adding that they later saw him outside the station before they boarded the tram to Central.
He said he noticed “nothing suspicious” until the undercover policemen arrested them while they onboard the train.
“Wala akong nakita. Wala akong napansin,” he said. “Hindi ako aware. Wala akong pakialam sa ibang tao.”
Investigators later discovered that the suspects were staying in a guesthouse in Yau Ma Tei. The police recovered CCTV footage showing them leaving the guesthouse but the video quality was reportedly not good.
The trial at the District Court will continue next month.