Date
25 March 2017
A screen grab (inset) from a video produced by Hong Kong Police to alert the public about phone scams. Many con artists pose as immigration officers to their target victims. Photos: Wikipedia, YouTube/HK Police
A screen grab (inset) from a video produced by Hong Kong Police to alert the public about phone scams. Many con artists pose as immigration officers to their target victims. Photos: Wikipedia, YouTube/HK Police

Two women lose nearly HK$9 million to phone scammers

Two women became the latest victims of phone scams in Hong Kong, losing nearly HK$9 million to the suspects who posed as law enforcement officers.

One of the victims was a 49-year-old lady surnamed Liu who works as a designer and lives in a flat at Kiu Hing Mansion in North Point.

The woman, who moved to Hong Kong from the mainland in 2011, told police she received a call on Oct. 1 from a man claiming to be an officer from the Immigration Department, Apple Daily reports.

The caller accused Liu of using a fake passport and then transferred the call to another man who claimed to be a public security officer in the mainland.

The scammers accused her of money laundering and asked her to give her bank account numbers as well as put up a bond in order to prove her innocence.

Liu complied with the instructions and deposited HK$5.66 million in five tranches in a bank account in Chengdu in Sichuan province, with the amount disguised as payment for a house as she was told to avoid raising the suspicion of the banking staff.

Afterwards, the scammers called her again and asked for more deposits.

Because she had no more money, Liu was forced to borrow HK$2.21 million from friends and deposited it into the same account.

Since then she has received no more calls from the “officers”.

She later learned that all the money she deposited in the Chengdu bank account had vanished, along with another HK$950,000 in her personal account with a mainland bank.

Only then did she realize she had been swindled. She reported it to the police on Thursday.

In another case, a 23-year-old woman surnamed Lam said she fell into a similar trap and lost HK$110,000 to two phone scammers who also posed as an Immigration Department officer and a mainland police officer.

At least 559 cases of phone scams were reported during the first eight months of the year, with victims in 331 of the cases losing a combined HK$120 million, Ming Pao Daily reported.

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TL/AC/CG

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