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Man steals in luxury hotels while guests have breakfast

THREE luxury hotels in Shanghai were told to improve their security during a court hearing yesterday when a man was charged with thefts totaling 230,000 yuan (US$36,400) in 14 star-rated hotels in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

The thief surnamed Chen was caught in a five-star hotel in Jing'an District last November. Prosecutors said Chen pretended to make a phone call at the entrance to buffet breakfast and overheard guests telling their room numbers. He then went to their rooms and asked cleaners to open the doors.

Chen sometimes told a cleaner to clean the bathroom only as he had a guest coming and sometimes he lied that he had an urgent matter but had left the key to his wife.

Most hotel workers would let Chen enter the room for fear their refusal would incur guest complaints and a salary deduction, prosecutors said.

When they finished cleaning, Chen had already left with cash and other valuables he found in the room.

Between July 2010 and November 2011, Chen used the trick to steal cash and valuables worth over 230,000 yuan in 14 deluxe hotels in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Sixteen people became his victims but few of them reported to police after reaching a compensation deal with the hotels which stayed mute to protect their reputation.

Shanghai police began to hunt for Chen after a victim in a five-star hotel at the Bund reported the theft.


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