Date
30 March 2017
Police said a 40-year-old man surnamed Tam (inset) pretended to be the owner of a HK$9.2 million residential unit at Festival City in Tai Wai. Photos: HKEJ, TVB
Police said a 40-year-old man surnamed Tam (inset) pretended to be the owner of a HK$9.2 million residential unit at Festival City in Tai Wai. Photos: HKEJ, TVB

Centaline willing to pay victim in HK$9.2 mln property fraud

Centaline Property Agency said it is willing to compensate the victim of a fraudulent property transaction involving a HK$9.2 million residential unit at Festival City in Tai Wai.

At least three people have been arrested in connection with the transaction, in which the victim paid a deposit of HK$2.92 million to a man who pretended to be the real owner of the property, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Centaline executive director Louis Chan Wing-kit said the property agent took part in the transaction because all the forged documents looked authentic.

The documents were vetted by Centaline representatives, the solicitors appointed by the fake property owner and the buyer’s solicitor.

Chan said all three parties should shoulder responsibilities, but Centaline is willing to cough up the money should compensation be ruled necessary.

The property agent will then negotiate with the solicitors of both parties on how to split the bill.

Police on Wednesday arrested a 40-year-old man surnamed Tam who had misrepresented himself as the flat owner in the transaction.

However, the mastermind who had conceived the entire scheme remains at large, police sources said.

Tam, a suspected drug user, will face charges of collecting proceeds gained from fraud and money laundering.

He was arrested in Sham Shui Po while he was meeting up with his girlfriend, Apple Daily reported.

Tam, who does not have a regular job, changed his name to that of the real owner of the flat in question and opened a bank account to collect the deposit payment.

The case happened in November last year, with the suspect offering to sell a flat on tower five of the third phase of Festival City.

Tam used a forged identity card and other false documents to complete the deal.

The flat was offered below market prices at HK$9.2 million, with a rental contract still in force.

The real owner of the flat learned that his property was being sold three months later and called the police.

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EL/AC/CG

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