24 October 2016
MTR Corp. is said to have lost nearly HK$90,000 as a man pulled a trick on ticket vending machines. Photo: HKEJ
MTR Corp. is said to have lost nearly HK$90,000 as a man pulled a trick on ticket vending machines. Photo: HKEJ

Jobless man, 52, arrested over MTR ticket machine scam

A 52-year-old man has been arrested after he helped himself to thousands of dollars from ticket vending machines of commuter rail operator MTR Corp. 

The man, who is unemployed, was charged with theft after he pulled a trick on ticket machines at several MTR stations and profited as much as HK$88,000.

According to the police, the suspect, who bears the surname Leung, found a way to make cash by getting change from the machines without actually spending any money.

He would insert a HK$100 banknote into a machine and buy a ticket and get the change, while also pulling back his hundred dollar bill.

Investigations revealed that the man targeted old models of ticket machines to pull off his trick. Such machines can be found at stations along Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line and Island Line.

MTR alerted the police on Sept. 7 after it detected abnormal transactions at ticket issuing machines in multiple stations, Sing Tao Daily reports.

Surveillance camera footage led officers from the crime unit of Sau Mau Ping police district to zero in on the possible suspect.

Leung was arrested on Tuesday at the Sheung Wan Station as he was trying to commit a ticketing fraud again.

The police later conducted a search at a guest house in Mong Kok where the man had been living.

Lo Kok-keung, a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a former official at the Polytechnic University’s department of mechanical engineering, said he suspects Leung may have pulled his trick by inserting a HK$100 note attached with a string into ticket issuing machines.

As soon as the machine confirms payment for a ticket purchase, he would pull out the banknote and also get change for the HK$100 note.

An MTR spokesman told Apple Daily that the company monitors its ticket issuing machines on a regular basis and reports to police if any irregularity is detected.

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