Date
15 October 2018
It's difficult to pursue suspects who flee with the goods without paying for them at the MTR station because they can easily blend in with the crowd. Photo: CNSA
It's difficult to pursue suspects who flee with the goods without paying for them at the MTR station because they can easily blend in with the crowd. Photo: CNSA

Online sellers suffer losses as swindlers collect goods and run

Let the seller beware! 

Police have issued a warning against people who agree to buy goods sold online, meet up with the sellers at a crowded location such as the MTR station, and then grab the goods and run, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In most cases, these robbers hand over the payment in an envelope or red packet to the seller, and once they get hold of the products and the seller is opening the envelope, they flee.

It turns out that the envelope or red packet contains no cash but just pieces of paper.

At the MTR station, the buyer is usually at the paid area while the seller is on the other side, with the glass fence separating them as they transact business.

Once the seller hands over the goods to the buyer, the latter can easily run away and vanish into the crowds because it will take the seller some time before they can go inside the paid area and pursue the suspect.

Senior Inspector Wong Kok-sing of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau said such cases are no different from robbery.

Wong said most of the cases involved the sale of expensive items, such as smartphones and jewelry, which are advertised on social networking platforms.

Police believe most are individual cases that do not involve a criminal syndicate.

During the first nine months of last year, police recorded 945 cases of fraud involving online transactions, down 10.26 percent from the same period in 2015.

However, the losses involved rose slightly to HK$12.7 million last year from HK$12.6 million in 2015.

Wong advised sellers to first confirm receipt of the exact payment before releasing the goods to their buyers.

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EL/AC/CG

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