Date
15 December 2017
The number of reported phone scams in Hong Kong rose to 1,395 in the seven months to July from 1,036 in the same period last year. Photo: Chris Campbell/Flickr
The number of reported phone scams in Hong Kong rose to 1,395 in the seven months to July from 1,036 in the same period last year. Photo: Chris Campbell/Flickr

Mainland phone scam artist makes unlucky call

How unlucky can one get?

A phone scam artist from the mainland was arrested on Thursday after he made the mistake of trying his scheme on police officers, Apple Daily reported.

The suspect, a 23-year-old man, called three senior officers at the Kwun Tong police station without knowing his intended victims, and demanded that they pay large sums of money.

The man first made a call to Chief Inspector Chung Chi-ming at 1:10 p.m. He told the police officer that his son had been abducted and demanded a ransom of HK$300,000. 

But as Chung was asking a lot of questions, the man decided to hang up.

Five minutes later, Superintendent David Cameron, assistant district commander of the Kwun Tong police, received a similar call, but the man stopped the conversation because he could not speak very well in Cantonese.

When they determined the caller was a scam operator, the officers agreed to play along with him.

The next time the man called, Senior Inspector Lee Ka-yan agreed to pay the ransom but negotiated with him to lower the amount to HK$100,000.

The man agreed and told the police officer to go to the nearby fire station on Hoi Yuen Road at 2:30 p.m. for the ransom payment and the return of the child.

Police arrested the suspect when he showed up at the drop-off point. The caller, surnamed Ng, was holding a tourist visa from the mainland.

The first seven digits of the three officers’ telephone numbers were the same, as they work in the same office, indicating that the suspect probably just changed one digit so that the numbers would be easy to remember.

Unfortunately for him, his choice of numbers took him to a police station.

The number of reported phone scams in Hong Kong rose to 1,395 in the seven months to July from 1,036 in the same period last year.

The success rate fell to 29.5 percent from 34.5 percent during the period while the scammed amount rose to HK$22.94 million from HK$19.7 million.

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EL/AC/CG

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