Burglar steals over $600 in coins at Whampoa hawker centre
Six stalls burgled at Whampoa hawker centre
When hawker Bao Guang Qing went to set up his stall at Whampoa Makan Place on Monday, he noticed footprints on the ledge and table.
Hedid not think much of it at the time. An hour later, at about 9.50am, the 48-year-old realised the significance of the footprints.
"I looked into the pail where I kept my spare change and found that it was empty," Mr Bao told The New Paper yesterday.
He said there had been about $600 in coins there.
He said: I'm heartbroken, two days worth of labour gone just like that."
Mr Bao, who runs a fish head steamboat stall with his wife and son, called the police, who cordoned off the area and conducted a four-hour investigation.
It turned out Mr Bao, a permanent resident from China, was one of six victims whose stalls had been burgled. The other stalls lost about $20 each.
Mrs Sue Goh, 35, called The New Paper on Monday afternoon when she saw the police at the hawker centre.
Mrs Goh, who has been delivering raw produce to the hawkers there for the past 10 years, suspects that the burglar entered each stall from an opening at the top.
Mr Bao, who has been running the stall for about two years, said: "There had never been any problem. We would close the shop for two weeks, even up to a month, and nothing would happen.
Mrs Bao, 47, said: "I was so scared. I couldn't sleep last night."
The family plans to install aclosed-circuit television camera to prevent future break-ins. This would set them back about $1,000, but they believe it will be a worthwhile investment.
"We have no choice, we have to protect ourselves," Mr Bao said.
Their son, who heads the business, was more cheerful.
Mr Bao Jie, 24, said: "We have to work cheerfully, only then can we cook up delicious food."
The other stall owners were less concerned about their small losses.
Mr Yong Min, 20,who sells pig organ and herbal mutton soup, said: "We were lucky. That day, we had only about $20in coins because we were closed. Normally, we would have kept about $100."
Madam Angel Chua, 58, who has been selling cuttlefish for the past 40 years, said she has learnt her lesson, adding: "As long as I keep the money away next time, they will have nothing to steal."
Police investigations are ongoing.