Schoolgirl duped into joining bogus tour

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2007, 12:00am

A Form Four schoolgirl was duped into paying HK$500 to join a 10-day study tour to Shanghai the swindlers claimed was organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, police said yesterday.

The trip was scheduled to start yesterday but crime squad officers from Tsim Sha Tsui police station found no one had turned up at the designated gathering point in Wan Chai at 8am.

The Tourism Board issued a warning that it never organises overseas tours or profit-making activities.

The teenager told police she e-mailed an entry in a writing competition in March. She later received a call from a woman saying she was one of the winners.

She was then invited to attend an award presentation ceremony and flag-raising ceremony in Wan Chai on July 1.

'The two functions were cancelled, but she was offered a sightseeing trip to the Tsing Ma Bridge and a meal on the same day,' a police investigator said.

Then the girl received a letter inviting her to join a study tour to Shanghai with 17 other award winners.

It even listed their names and their schools' names.

The girl said she was told they would travel to Shanghai by coach.

On Sunday, she went to pay the fee at a counter that was set up outside the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, and she was given a receipt.

The deception was discovered when her mother called the Tourism Board to check details of the trip on Monday. The board then called police.