Crime figures in Hong Kong were the lowest in 10 years during the first six months but scams kept rising, the police said.
Police Director of Crime and Security Au Chi-kwong said 28,309 criminal cases were recorded during the period, down 4.2 percent year on year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
There were 3,561 cases of deception in the first half of the year, up 5.7 percent, Au said.
The rise was mainly driven by online business fraud, such as procurement services of concert and theme park tickets, with the number surging 34.8 percent to 1,076 cases. Victims lost a combined HK$16 million (US$2.05 million).
Street deception showed signs of resurgence as the number of such cases rose fivefold to 54 between January and June and led to a loss of HK$5.8 million. Seventy percent of the cases involved spiritual blessing.
As for phone scams, the number increased to 443 cases from 410, involving about HK$140 million, an increase of about HK$40 million.
Au said phone scammers appear to be running more rampant this month. An average of 5.4 cases per day have been recorded so far, compared with 2.4 in the past six months, and involved HK$18 million. He said most of these cases involved impersonating government officials.
While overall crime went down from the same period last year, rape, indecent assault, deception and motor vehicle theft increased, news website hk01.com reported.
Meanwhile, police said the Anti-Deception Coordination Centre, a special unit set up to fight scammers, has received more than 1,800 calls to its anti-scam help line 18222 since it was launched last Thursday.
Of the callers, three lost US$200,000, US$40,000 and 60,000 yuan, while four were saved from any losses by the center.
A total of HK$800,000 that could have been wired to scammers has been intercepted at banks since the start of the operation of the center.
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