My Flat Was Burgled.

On the last day of school before summer let out, I went out for a celebratory meal with friends. So, yeah, this was awhile ago, back in June. I decided to be well behaved and was home by 9:30 to get a good night's rest and start packing for summer vacation. When I arrived back at my flat, something felt off as soon as I opened the door. I could hear wind, and my curtains rustling. A window was open; my heart quickly dropped.

Last day of school celebration

I knew immediately what this was- there was bamboo scaffolding around my building and I had seen a burglar climbing down bamboo scaffolding in another neighborhood of Hong Kong before. So I cautiously flipped on the lights and yelled into the darkness, 'HELLO?!'

Imagine my surprise when I heard footsteps. I hadn't been robbed, I was being robbed. That burgling bumbletwit was still in my flat! At this point my lizard brain took over and I darted into the living room, effectively chasing the robber straight out of my window. What fortuitous timing! He must have entered shortly before I did, because whoever it was didn't manage to pocket anything before I scared them off. My electronics and valuables were safe, but I still wasn't sure if I was in the clear.

The window through which the burglar forced their way in

My next course of action? Call a friend/neighbor while simultaneously crying hysterically and stomping around my flat holding out a steak knife like a crazy person in case any accomplices were still around. I felt sick as I threw back the shower curtain, checked inside the wardrobe and under the tables to make sure no one else was still around. My friend called the police, who quickly arrived with 14 police officers, forensics specialists, and detectives.

That footprint was still there when this chair 
was returned to me 3 months later

Ironically, it was the police who ended up destroying my flat and taking my property in the end. They took a chair of mine for a footprint, and left black fingerprinting dust and muddy trails everywhere. I had to stay at the police station until 2 AM giving a witness statement, after which they promptly kicked me out the back door into the red light district on the street below with no ride home.

The police even brought dogs in case 
the burglar could be sniffed out nearby

I received a letter in the mail a few months later that the case was closed, the burglar had not been caught, and my chair was ready to be picked up. The experience wasn't so terrible overall, and could have been much worse. The burglar was skittish and nonviolent, the police responded quickly, and nothing was stolen. But if you live in Hong Kong or are visiting, and your building is covered in bamboo scaffolding, be careful and lock your windows! I was relying on the seal from the window latch before, and this was popped open very easily. My windows are now very secure with massive padlocks, but I still get an eery feeling every once in awhile in my flat that I'm never really as safe as I think I am. The police told me this was the third burglary that week in my neighborhood of that type, so thieves were actively looking for buildings that were under construction. You have been warned!

Bamboo going up on a building near my house


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