Fake Wellcome coupon trader guilty of money laundering

Shopper acquired HK$1m of goods from Wellcome, using fake vouchers for 2 months

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 4:25am

A pier worker who made HK$1.2 million by using and selling fake supermarket coupons was convicted yesterday on two money-laundering charges.

But Chung Chun-kit, 31, was acquitted of four charges relating to the use and possession of false instruments.

District Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng said Chung, who had pleaded not guilty to all charges, had reason to believe the goods he bought with the fake Wellcome coupons, and money he obtained from selling them, were proceeds of an indictable offence.

He said the prosecution had, however, failed to establish beyond doubt that he knew the coupons were bogus when he used and held them.

The court heard the goods, worth HK$1 million, included 331 bottles of wine and brandy and 295 tins of infant formula, together valued at HK$180,000. They were found by police in storage space Chung had rented, along with 3,537 fake coupons.

He also made HK$200,000 from selling fake coupons online.

Convicting him on two charges of dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence, Chan said Chung should have become suspicious when Wellcome and issuing bank Citibank set a five-coupon-per-purchase limit and requested users to show their credit cards.

The judge said the restrictions were imposed when the two parties became aware of the existence of counterfeits, which the prosecution agreed looked so real an ordinary person would have difficulty verifying them.

Chung made the purchases from early January to February 16 last year.

He had told the police he was hired to make the purchases by a man, who identified himself only as Mr Lam, and that the coupons were given to him by another man, known as Marco.

His sentencing was set for February 22, pending a background report.

If Wellcome customers have any inquiries about the coupons, a spokesperson invited them to contact staff members.