Swindler jailed for cheating 'schoolmate'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am


An unemployed man who tricked a stranger into giving him HK$45,000 by claiming he was a former schoolmate was sentenced to 19 months in jail yesterday.

Lau Kong-keung, 39, had pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to seven counts of fraud and one count of obtaining property by deception.

Lau met one victim, a 24-yer-old courier, in January last year in Central. Lau claimed they had been at secondary school together and said he urgently needed HK$9,000. The other man withdrew the cash after Lau promised to repay it by noon.

At noon, Lau said he had transferred HK$22,000 to him - and asked the man to repay the HK$13,000 difference. He complied.

Over the next few days, Lau persuaded the other man to give him a further HK$23,000 by making various claims, such as that his own money was caught up in a bank transfer.

In May this year, undercover police caught Lau tricking another stranger into giving him money at an ATM in Wan Chai, the court heard.

Lau told the 35-year-old an ATM had kept his bank card and that he needed money urgently. Borrowing the man's mobile phone, he made a call to someone he claimed was his brother-in-law. He said the relative would transfer HK$3,000 to the man so he could withdraw it for Lau.

When the man saw that no transfer had been made, Lau said it was delayed because his brother-in-law had used a Visa card to do it. The man withdrew HK$1,800 for Lau - there was not enough in the account - and gave him HK$200 he had in his pocket. Lau told him to transfer the remaining HK$1,000 the next day, and left. A plain-clothes officer saw the crime unfold, and Lau was arrested.

Lau was jailed for 14 months for swindling the first man and 10 months for the incident last month. Deputy Magistrate Ho Wai-ying ordered that he serve half the latter sentence consecutively, meaning he will do 19 months in jail.