Teenagers among 15 people arrested in online fraud crackdown

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 12:00am


A 13-year-old schoolboy and a 16-year-old girl were among 15 suspected swindlers arrested yesterday in a crackdown on online shopping fraud totalling about HK$300,000.

The scams lured more than 30 people to pay for diamonds, iPhones, luxury handbags and other items that were not delivered after payment.

The boy, a Form Two pupil, was the youngest person arrested in connection with this type of crime, police said.

He allegedly posted an advertisement online offering an iPhone for sale last year. 'He also used his parents' bank account to collect HK$4,000 from the buyer,' one police officer said.

The victim called police after failing to receive the product and being unable to contact the seller.

Crime squad officers raided the boy's home on Choi Ying Estate in Ngau Tau Kok. Police seized a notebook computer and clothes he had allegedly bought with the money. Initial investigations showed he had conducted only one fraudulent transaction.

The boy was arrested as more than 50 officers raided about 20 locations from 4am yesterday.

The unemployed 16-year-old girl, who was arrested at her home in Tai Po, was accused of cheating two online buyers out of a total of HK$5,000 by offering luxury handbags for sale.

'Parents should be alert if their children want to use their bank accounts to collect money or carry out any transaction,' Choy Wai-fu, acting senior superintendent at the New Territories North regional crime unit, said.

Choy said several teenagers had been arrested over similar online scams in the past year.

Yesterday's operation also netted 13 adults - 10 men and three women - who allegedly cheated about 30 online consumers out of HK$300,000 since the middle of last year.

Police said they offered items for sale online with no intention of delivering them. The goods included electronic products, jewellery, coins and stamps, priced from several hundred dollars to HK$80,000.

Last night, all suspects were being held for questioning.