Executive Council member and former Hong Kong security chief Regina Ip was scammed out of US$65,000 after opening an e-mail that led to a bogus bank transfer, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
Police said Ip was a victim of a common type of fraud and warned the public to be careful.
Ip said she was not aware of the theft until she got a call from her bank that the money had been transferred from her Swiss bank account.
That is when she realized her bank account had been hacked and traced the incident to an e-mail she suspected was infected with a virus.
She said the e-mail purportedly came from MTR Corp. chairman Raymond Ch’ien who later told her his e-mail had been hacked and that he had sent her no such message.
Ip said she had no time to change her password.
Ip uses her Swiss account to wire money to her daughter who is studying in the United States.
The hacker must have forged her signature from previous money transfers and stole other bank details from her computer, she said.
However, she said no sensitive government information had been compromised.
Ip, who chairs the New People’s Party, serves in the Hong Kong legislature and was the government’s security minister from 1998 to 2003 and immigration chief from 1996 to 1998.
She said is cooperating with investigators.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said his agency will step up a public information campaign to warn people about such incidents.
And the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it has asked banks to strengthen oversight and to be more vigilant about unauthorized transactions.
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