Eight are arrested for alleged $13m finance scam

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 12:00am

Seven men and a woman have been arrested over an alleged $13 million scam in which they reportedly posed as financial advisers and demanded fees for arranging loans for customers.

The suspects are accused of using bogus letters of credit, bank guarantees and bonds to lure victims into handing over funds.

Commercial Crime Bureau officers launched the operation across the city on Tuesday and yesterday and arrested the eight suspects. They also seized financial documents and illegal drugs.

Investigators alleged the suspects had posed as financial experts and told their victims they could raise funds for them. The group reportedly insisted on being paid upfront fees in return for arranging the loans.

Investigations into the alleged fraud began in July last year, and police have raided 47 addresses across Hong Kong this week as part of the investigation.

Among the items seized were fake bank documents, including standby letters of credit, bank guarantees, US Federal Reserve bonds and promissory notes, according to officers.

Police also seized 192 tablets of the designer drug Ice and a small packet of cannabis resin at one of the raided establishments.

The eight suspects were arrested at various locations yesterday on suspicion of obtaining property by deception, conspiracy to defraud, possession of false instruments and possession of dangerous drugs, police said.

The investigators allege that the group is connected with three cases in which they had reportedly fraudulently collected more than $13.5 million in fees from customers.

Six of the men and the woman were last night released on bail while police continued the investigation. The eighth suspect, a 56-year-old man, was being detained by police for further questioning last night.