Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong has taken the rare step of disavowing illegal phone calls after being swamped with inquiries about telephone scams.
Mainland authorities will never conduct law enforcement on the phone, according to Apple Daily which cited Wu Guozhen, deputy head for police matters.
Wu appeared on a DBC radio show on Tuesday after the liaison office received more than 10,000 inquiries in three days from people concerned about callers claiming to be from Beijing’s top representative in Hong Kong.
He said his office is working with the Hong Kong police and warned people to take precautions.
Con men posing as officials from the liaison office have been targeting unsuspecting victims by telling them they’re in trouble with the law, according to reports.
One victim lost HK$2 million (US$257,927).
Wu warned people against paying money to anyone without a second thought, saying they might be scammers.
He said the phone scams originated in Taiwan more than 10 years ago before spreading into the mainland.
Some mainlanders have been detained in some Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and forced to make fraudulent calls, Wu said.
The swindlers switched to Hong Kong after mainland authorities cracked down on their activities.
Johnny Lau, an independent political commentator, said Wu’s public appeal was mainly aimed at protecting the reputation of the liaison office.
He said Wu’s mention of Taiwan and other countries was meant to distract public attention from what’s taking place in China.
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