Slipper-clad thief posing as guest steals from Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel

HONG KONG - A thief tricked staff into opening a room safe at a five-star Hong Kong hotel by posing as a slipper-clad guest, local media reported on Tuesday, raising questions about security at one of the city's top hotels.

Staff at the harbourside Peninsula Hotel were first duped into giving the man a spare key in the early hours of Sunday morning as the room's occupants, a French couple, were sleeping, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. When the couple left the room later that afternoon, the man let himself in and managed to persuade staff to open the safe from which he stole HK$50,000 (S$8,256) worth of goods and cash.

"Speaking in English, he told hotel staff that he had lost his room key and demanded another one," the newspaper cited a Hong Kong police officer as saying, adding that the man provided details of the 47-year-old male occupant, including name and birth date, without saying how he had obtained such information.

After entering the room, the man "telephoned the front desk from the room saying he had forgotten the password of the safe and asked for assistance to open it", the officer was quoted by the SCMP as saying. When the staff arrived, the man - described as a foreigner - was waiting in the room wearing "a pair of slippers, a blue T-shirt and jeans".

"No one has been arrested so far," a Hong Kong police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday, confirming the case.

The Peninsula Hotel, established in 1928 in the former British colony, is situated in the bustling shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui and is one of the city's oldest hotels. The hotel refused to give details on the case, but confirmed the theft had occurred.

"The theft happened and has been reported. But we are not at the liberty to elaborate further while the police are investigating the matter," Peninsula Hotel director of public relations Olivia Toth told AFP.

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