Date
25 July 2017
Hong Kong Police have called for information to help identify some people who swindled elderly citizens by preying on religious and spiritual fears. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/HK Police
Hong Kong Police have called for information to help identify some people who swindled elderly citizens by preying on religious and spiritual fears. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/HK Police

Police hunt for ‘blessing gang’ that targeted elderly citizens

Police are looking for four people believed to be involved in a gang that has tricked elderly citizens and swindled huge amounts of money in recent weeks.

The suspects, a man and three women, belong to a “spiritual blessing gang” which specializes in defrauding seniors, according to law enforcement officials.

Gang members would ask the victims to offer valuables for performing rituals, and then switch the items secretly.

Authorities launched an investigation after two women in their 70s reported that they lost more than HK$370,000 altogether in April and May, Ming Pao Daily reports.

In the first case, a 73-year-old lady surnamed Wong was approached by a woman when she was strolling in a park near her flat in Kennedy Town on the morning of April 29.

The woman told Wong that she and her family are likely to be haunted by bad luck. She then introduced to the elderly lady a female “master”, claiming that the latter can help remove the bad luck right on the spot.

Believing the words, Wong went home and brought a bag containing HK$85,000 in cash and HK$220,000 worth of jewelry and handed it to the strangers.

After the duo performed a “blessing ritual”, they told Wong not to open the bag until 10 days later, and left.

Wong followed the instruction and kept the bag sealed. When she finally opened it after 10 days, she had a shock as the cash and jewelry was all gone and the bag contained only some useless stuff.

She then reported her misfortune to police.

In another case, a 77-year-old woman surnamed Kwan suffered a similar fraud, also at the hands of two women.

Kwan fell prey as she was walking along Po Heung Street in Tai Po on Tuesday, losing more than HK$70,000 to the “blessing” gang.

In a Facebook post late Tuesday, the police made public photos of a man and three women wanted for fraud and called on citizens to provide information for identification of the suspects.

According to the post, the four speak Cantonese.

Police data show that 26 street deception cases were reported for the first four months of this year, an increase of 21 cases compared to the same period in 2016.

The monetary loss suffered by the victims totaled HK$2.3 million, compared to HK$260,000 in such cases during the January-April period last year.  

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TL/AC/RC

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