Lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, who represents the financial services constituency in the Legislative Council, became the victim of a phone scam, losing 90,000 yuan (US$14,063) to a person who claimed to be mainland tycoon Wong Cho-bau.
Cheung said the voice at the other end of the line sounded like Wong, owner of Digital Broadcasting Corp. and chairman of the East Pacific Holdings, Sing Tao Daily reported on Monday.
He said he lowered his guard after the man pretending to be Wong called him by his nickname “fatty Cheung”.
Cheung said he called Wong last Thursday, inviting him to a “yum cha”.
The fake Wong later called him and said he has changed his phone number. He asked Cheung to call him using the new number in the future.
The man called Cheung again the following day, saying mainland police officers have arrested him after he got drunk with two friends at a karaoke bar in Shenzhen.
He said he did not want his colleagues to know he was under arrest, which was why he turned to Cheung for help.
Cheung said he is aware of phone scams victimizing Hong Kong people, but he believed the man’s story because he sounded exactly like the real Wong.
He said he asked a friend in Shenzhen to send the money to the police station in Futian.
But after a few minutes, the fake Wong called Cheung, asking him to wire the money instead. Cheung agreed.
Ten minutes later, the fake Wong called Cheung again, this time telling him that three young ladies in the karaoke bar were also arrested as they were all under 16 years old.
He said he needed another 90,000 yuan to settle the case with the police.
This time Cheung got suspicious because, he said, Wong isn’t a man who would spend time in a karaoke bar with underaged girls.
So he asked the man on the other end of the line: “Who are you talking to?”
“I am talking to you,”, the man replied.
Cheung asked him to state his full name, but the man failed to do so. That was when he realized he was being cheated.
The legislator immediately called the real Wong’s secretary, who informed him that her boss was playing golf on Hainan Island.
He was able to call the real Wong and told him what had happened.
Wong offered to give back the money to Cheung, but the lawmaker refused.
Cheung said he has learned his lesson well, although it cost him 90,000 yuan.
Still, he could not believe he was hoodwinked by someone over the phone. He said he listened again to audio clips of his phone conversation with the man, and he insisted the man sounds like the real Wong.
He said the tycoon’s line could have been tapped since last Thursday. That’s why the scam artist was able to know his nickname and devise a scam that looked credible to him.
Cheung did not report the case to the police but informed the Liaison Office in Hong Kong about it.
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