Police arrested three men and were hunting two of their accomplices for allegedly conning a 23-year-old student from a wealthy family in a HK$1 million gambling scam in Macau, Apple Daily reported on Friday.
The victim surnamed Wong, a sophomore at a university in the UK who has just returned to Hong Kong for the New Year holiday, visited Macau earlier this month.
After losing HK$50,000 in a casino, he left for the pier in the early morning of Jan. 5, but was approached by several men who talked him into joining a VIP club.
Membership in the club would allow him to continue playing in the casinos and get a free hotel room, a chauffeur-driven limousine and a sightseeing helicopter tour of the city, the men told him.
Unable to resist the temptation, Wong accepted the offer and was taken to a VIP room in a casino, where he signed a loan contract and was given gambling chips worth HK$1 million.
He tried to leave after losing tens of thousands of dollars, only to be told that his loss had been recorded by surveillance cameras and he would have to sign a new contract after returning to Hong Kong to repay his debts in 80 interest-free installments.
As soon as he got off the boat and passed the customs, he was immediately stopped by three men who asked him to repay HK$1 million and took him back to his home on Tin Hau Temple Road in North Point.
Learning of the situation, Wong’s father reported the case to the police, who told them to ignore it as it was a normal practice by swindlers.
But the gangsters kept harassing the family over the next few days with phone calls and notes pasted outside their residence demanding the money.
Police arrested three men aged 20 to 23 late Wednesday night after the family reported they were loitering outside their home. Notes demanding repayment of the gambling debt were found in their possession.
At 5 a.m. on Thursday, two men threw paper cups with red paint at the garden of Wong’s residence and fled.
Wong said he regretted accepting the offer of strangers in Macau and decided to settle the incident before returning to the UK to continue his studies.
A director at Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counselling Centre warned young people not to be lured by offers of freebies or they could end up falling victim to financial traps set up by underground casinos.
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