Security guard fighting for his life after break-in at Kwun Tong restaurant

The break-in occurred at the Yen Sheng Centre, in Kwun Tong.
PHOTO: Google via South China Morning Post

A security guard was fighting for his life in hospital on Wednesday after being hit over the head with a hammer during a suspected break-in at a Hong Kong restaurant.

The 65-year-old was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei after the early-morning attack, and at 1 pm was listed as being in critical condition.

Police launched a citywide manhunt for a single suspect, who was believed to have stolen HK$60,000 (S$10,400) from a second-floor restaurant in the Yen Sheng Centre, Kwun Tong.

"Officers found the main door of the restaurant had been prised open. Initial investigations showed about HK$60,000 was stolen from the eatery," a police spokesman said.

The injured security guard was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Yau Ma Tei. PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The guard was found soon after 4 am on a staircase in the building on Hoi Yuen Road, and rushed to a hospital. Police recovered a hammer at the scene, which they believed to be the weapon used in the attack.

Officers were treating the case as an aggravated burglary - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

In Hong Kong, reports of burglary increased sharply between July and October as the city was gripped by more than six months of violent street protests sparked by opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Latest police figures show reports of break-ins rose 90.3 per cent to 904 between July and October this year, up from 475 in the same period last year.

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Criminals had been taking advantage of the deployment of police resources for radical anti-government protests, to raid homes, offices and shops, the force reported earlier.

Since August, local police are no longer patrolling city streets on foot because of the burden of policing demonstrations as well as the perceived risk of being attacked. Officers are now patrolling in police vans instead.

According to the force, there was almost one robbery a day in October this year, up from one reported every two to three days in 2018.

Months of social unrest in Hong Kong began in June, initially in response to the extradition legislation, which would have allowed the transfer of criminal suspects to mainland China and other jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks an agreement.

As of Monday, police had arrested 6,022 people aged from 11 to 84 since June. Of those, 956 people had been prosecuted.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.