Spiked drink scam victim undergoes hypnosis
A businessman who had HK$43,000 stolen from his bank accounts after his drink was apparently spiked on a night out in Hong Kong has undergone hypnosis to dredge up memories of his ordeal.
Andy Clark, 33, a married father of two, 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 early hours of May 17 follows a series of cases in Wan Chai in which police suspect that prostitutes have used powerful date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB to render drinkers insensible and steal money from their accounts.
Now Clark (pictured), a Hong Kong-based management trainer, has been hypnotised in an attempt to find out what happened in his missing hours - and has given police details of the flashback memories he says he recovered during the session.
Bizarrely, Clark opted for a two-hour hypnosis session over Skype with a therapist in California after learning he would have to wait too long for a session in Hong Kong.
'I saw two black girls in a very small apartment - I think it was in Causeway Bay,' he said. 'I woke up briefly and the bigger black girl told me 'Drink this' and gave me a very sweet drink that tasted like flat coke.'
Clark passed details of the flashbacks to the policewoman heading the investigation. 'She told me evidence from hypnotherapy wouldn't be admissible in court but any information you give us we will use.'
Police have taken hair samples from Clark to analyse for any traces of a drug used to spike his drink.
They are also reviewing closed-circuit television images provided by one bank of a black woman accompanying him to an ATM machine.
Clark was taken by five detectives to ATM sites in Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai to see if he could recall further details. 'Apart from getting shivers down my spine at the first ATM, I didn't remember much,' he said.
Clark, who is British, is apparently the first victim of what is believed to be a widespread practice of drink-spiking to go public.
Most victims, usually married professionals, remember nothing of the events and often do not report the crimes out of embarrassment.
Attackers are believed to slip the drugs into victims' drinks then lead them to an ATM machine. They then take the bank cards, make multiple withdrawals at other ATMs with no CCTV cameras and return the cards to their owners.
Clark says his last memory was being in the Stormy Weather bar shortly before midnight on May 16, drinking glasses of red wine after a friend had gone home.
He awoke at home at 4pm the next day, confused and disoriented, having missed a business meeting. He later found nearly HK$43,000 had been withdrawn in six separate transactions ranging from HK$2,000 to HK$16,000 from three different accounts in the early hours of May 17.
Police say they are taking the case 'very seriously' and have warned people visiting bars areas in Hong Kong to be alert and not to get drunk or accept drinks from strangers.