Retail fraud is on the rise, with culprits pretending to pay in big denominations to distract shopkeepers before stealing from them.
Three such cases were reported in the past two days alone in Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O, according to news website hk01.com.
The latest occurred on Jan. 6 when a shop assistant at the Tseung Kwan O Popcorn Mall told police three men stole items from the shop.
The men had paid with large bills, but they stole the bills back when the salesperson was distracted or was busy answering their questions. The suspects then demanded change.
They left the shop with more than HK$1,300 in change, the original bank notes and unpaid goods.
The suspects are between 30 and 40 with a mainland accent, Ming Pao Daily reports.
On Jan. 5, two suspects paid with a HK$500 bill to a 29-year-old shop assistant and pulled the same trick.
They made off with HK$470 in extra change and HK$30 worth goods. The men are about 50 to 55.
A similar case was reported by a Kwun Tong store. A 19-year-old shop assistant said two men had bought HK$120 worth of items and each paid HK$500.
They took back the bank notes when the assistant was not paying attention and came away with HK$880 in change.
Retail and Wholesale Trade Association’s Choi Chung-kin said shop assistants who receive large-denomination bank notes should read out loud how much they were paid to protect themselves and the buyers.
Police said most cases of retail fraud happen during noontime or in the afternoon when there is only one shop assistant on duty.
The thieves would target retail shops such as convenience stores, supermarkets and drug stores.
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