The doors of more than 200 flats in three housing estates have been marked with mysterious symbols, terrifying residents and sparking speculation as to whether the markings were left by would-be burglars.

The police confirmed that, as of Thursday evening, 262 flats across three housing estates – Kam Fung Court and Saddle Ridge Garden in Ma On Shan and Kwai Luen Estate in Kwai Chung – were found to have curious markings on their doors. The police are currently investigating the matter.

Police investigation the matter. Photo: Facebook via ngkimsingoffice.

Starting last week, residents at Kwai Luen Estate began noticing that markings had appeared outside their doors near the doorbell or the door sign. Kwai Tsing District Councillor Ng Kim-sing told Apple Daily that the symbols include one line, two lines, two dots, or a cross, and appeared to be drawn with a red or black marker. Most of the flats marked are inhabited by residents who are out for most of the day. Residents said they were scared; some have painted over the markings or installed extra locks.

Marks on doorbells. Photo: Facebook via ngkimsingoffice.

The management office at Kam Fung Court has issued a notice to its residents, warning them to beware of burglars. It also stated that the police suspect the markings to have been left by burglars who had staged a lookout and were now indicating to their accomplices the status of the flat, such as whether the flat could potentially be a target or what time of the day the flat was usually empty.

Sha Tin District Councillors Chris Mak Yun-pui and James Chan Kwok-keung have also expressed concern about the incident and are urging the police to crack the case as soon as possible. Kwai Chung and Ma On Shan police said following investigations that there was insufficient evidence to show that there were criminal elements involved and they have classified the matter as “miscellaneous”.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.