Briton first to go public on drink-spiking

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 May, 2012, 12:00am


A 33-year-old expatriate businessman has told how HK$43,000 was stolen from his bank accounts after his drink was apparently spiked on a night out in Hong Kong.

Father-of-two Andy Clark, 33, says he blacked out for 16 hours after going out drinking in Lan Kwai Fong on a Wednesday night and later found the money had been stolen in multiple withdrawals using three different bank cards.

The incident in the early hours of May 17 follows a series of cases in Wan Chai in which police suspect prostitutes use powerful date-rape drugs like Rohypnol and GHB to render drinkers insensible and steal money from their accounts.

After administering the drug, they shoulder-surf the victim at ATM machines and then later use their bank cards to make multiple withdrawals at other ATMs with no CCTV cameras.

Many victims, often married professionals, remember nothing of the events and do not report the crimes out of embarrassment.

Clark, a British corporate trainer who has lived in Hong Kong for four years, had just returned from Shanghai and met a pilot friend for a meal and drinks.

His last memory was being in the Stormy Weather bar drinking glasses of red wine after his friend went home shortly before midnight on May 16, although he says he has one vague recollection of being at an ATM with two black girls in the early hours.

He woke confused and disoriented at 4pm the following day at home, having missed a business meeting. 'I looked in my wallet and noticed the cards had been put back in the wrong place, which I never do,' he said.

He later checked his accounts and found a total of HK$42,825 had been withdrawn in six separate transactions from three different accounts in the early hours of May 17. The withdrawals were all made in Wan Chai.

Clark is the first victim to go public about a drink-spiking case and says police only appeared to take his case seriously when he showed them a copy of a Sunday Morning Post story published last weekend about the phenomenon.

Clark revisited Stormy Weather, where he said staff told him it was too busy for them to see if anyone had been near him before he left the bar.

He then went to police in North Point on Saturday, where he said officers were dismissive and only logged it as a crime after he paid two further visits to Wan Chai police station with his wife Candy on Sunday night and Monday.

Mrs Clark said: 'They treated my husband like a guilty party rather than a victim ... They said to me in Cantonese 'Gweilos are always like that. They drink and lose control'.

'I had to be very forceful and say we would report them if they didn't take the details.'

A manager at the Stormy Weather bar, who asked not to be named, insisted Clark's drink could not have been spiked there. 'We have spoken to him. He can't remember where he went and who he was with,' the manager said.

'One of the floor managers saw him and said he was fine when he was in here. There was no one around him ... We don't have any working girls in Lan Kwai Fong and this bar is more of a late night drinking establishment.'

CCTV cameras at the bar had not been checked because staff were certain the incident had not taken place there, the manager said.

A police spokesman said the case is being treated as theft and is being investigated by Wan Chai district police.