Hong Kong men accused of defrauding post office in lost mail scam

Former schoolmates allegedly bagged HK$451,000 over three years

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 September, 2016, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 September, 2016, 1:01pm

A former postal worker and two friends stand accused of scamming Hong Kong’s postal service out of $450,000 by sending letters around the world claiming they had been lost containing valuables only to pocket the compensation.

The trio appeared at the Eastern Court on Friday, charged with conspiracy to defraud.

Chan Ka-yau, a 31-year-old former customer service officer for Hongkong Post, was charged on August 31 along with two former schoolmates Cho Shek-hang, 31, who is unemployed, and Ng Chun-yin, 33, a systems analyst.

Prosecutors alleged the scam – conducted from 2012 to last year when Chan was at the mail tracing office – involved dishonestly sending 3,039 registered packages in the names of “Mr Cho”, “Mr Ng” or “Mr Choi” to different people in Pakistan, the Philippines, India, Italy, the UK and Kuwait.

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Then, the allegation continued, the three men falsely claimed 1,531 of the packages could not be traced and were regarded as lost. They claimed that each of the “lost” mails contained a pen worth either HK$460 or HK$500, and were eligible to claim the compensation of up to HK$320 plus postage for each.

The three allegedly got Hongkong Post staff to release a total of over HK$451,000 as compensation for 1,398 of the 1,531 mails.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption investigated the case after it got a complaint referred by the Hongkong Post.

No plea was taken on Friday. The case was transferred to the District Court for plea by Acting Principal Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing on September 23.

Chan, Cho and Ng were each granted cash bail of HK$10,000, and ordered not to interfere with prosecution witnesses.