Police hunt for fraudster who stole HK$900,000

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2011, 12:00am


Police are hunting a daring fraudster who disguised himself as a wealthy businessman and stole HK$900,000 from the victim's account using his identity card and bank card.

Officers said the man, who appeared to be South Asian, made brazen over-the-counter cash transfers at three branches of a local bank.

The victim had earlier given out his PIN numbers over the phone to a person impersonating a bank officer.

The scam was committed in October last year but revealed yesterday when police appealed for help from the public to find the trickster by releasing his picture, which was captured by a surveillance camera.

Police said the identity card and the credit card were stolen in early October but the victim did not realise it until he received the telephone call.

'The victim received a phone call from a person pretending to be from the bank, telling him his credit card was stolen,' a police officer said. 'He was asked to reveal the PIN numbers so the bank could cancel the card and issue him a new one.'

After getting the PIN numbers, the fraudster, impersonating the victim with the stolen identity card and credit card, visited branches of the bank in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Kowloon City to make cash transfers.

'It's possible the trickster looks like the picture in the identity card so that the bank employees were fooled,' the officer said.

An investigation showed that hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong dollars were transferred to bank accounts on the mainland.

The bank card was also used to buy luxury goods like jewellery and watches and to withdraw money from auto-teller machines.

'Within several days, the victim lost HK$900,000,' the officer said.

The victim, aged between 50 and 60, only realised what had happened after he failed to receive the new card and found unusual transactions. He then contacted the bank and made a report to police on October 7.

According to police, the fraudster is thought to be between the ages of 40 and 50 with short hair. A convenience store's surveillance camera showed him wearing a checked shirt and a pair of black trousers.

Anyone with information can contact police on 2761 8356 or 2761 8282. Detectives from the Kowloon City district crime squad are investigating whether the man is linked to other cases.