Date
28 July 2017
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo (inset) said phone scams and naked chat blackmail cases rose 30 percent and 72 percent respectively last year. Photo: RTHK, youtube
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo (inset) said phone scams and naked chat blackmail cases rose 30 percent and 72 percent respectively last year. Photo: RTHK, youtube

Phone scams, naked chat blackmail cases defy falling crime rate

Crime reports in Hong Kong declined 1.9 percent to 66,439 cases last year, the lowest since 1979, police said.

Police also said the detection rate increased 1.4 percentage points to 44.8 percent during the period.

Defying the downward trend in crime, however, were phone scams and online naked chat blackmail cases, which rose 30 percent and 72 percent respectively, Apple Daily reported on Wednesday.

Phone frauds, with scammers posing as mainland Chinese officials, seem to have made a comeback in recent weeks, with new immigrants and mainland students among the latest victims, the Hong Kong Police Force said.

Some 2,880 cases of phone scams were reported last year, up 30 percent from 2014, while losses amounted to more than HK$300 million.

Cases in which the culprits posed as mainland officials surged to 1,423, from just 23 in 2014.

But after police took action against the crime, the number of cases dropped to 27 in October from 838 in July. Still, the cases rose to 105 in December.

Meanwhile, blackmail cases jumped 54.4 percent to 1,366 last year.

Social networking and instant messaging platforms also became favorite hunting grounds of criminals.

The surge in such cases was mainly due to online sex chats, in which swindlers befriended their victims and asked them to take off their clothes while they engaged in online sex.

Unbeknown to the victims, their pictures were being taken, and these were later used for blackmail.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said these cases have low detection rate because the blackmailers are normally based outside Hong Kong.

Rape cases also rose 25 percent to 70, with most of the culprits known to their victims.

Of these cases, 20 of the victims were under the age of 16, a jump of 122 percent from 2014.

The pro-democracy Occupy protest movement also figured in the police report.

Police said of the 955 people arrested in connection with the protest movement, 471 were released and 267 arrest cases were awaiting judicial advice.

(Cantonese only)

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BT/AC/CG

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