Hong Kong police break up fraud syndicate that faked employment contracts

Gang provided Indonesian domestic helpers and two asylum seekers obtain forged documents so they could apply for personal loans

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2017, 9:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2017, 10:25pm

A fraud syndicate that helped ­Indonesian domestic helpers and asylum seekers with bogus ­employment contracts to obtain loans from a finance company has been broken up by police, following the arrest of 17 people.

Police are still searching for about 10 Indonesian women in connection with the case that ­involved at least 23 loan applications since June 2015 and more than HK$600,000.

Senior Inspector Lee Lok-man, from the commercial crime bureau said some of the women wanted by police may have left the city.

Police may seek help from the Indonesian Consulate to track them down.

Three of the 17 suspects were thought to be the ringleaders of the syndicate that had been in ­operation for almost two years and charged each successful ­applicant HK$7,000 for forged documentation, police said.

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The trio are a Nepalese man, 54, and two Indonesian women aged 34 and 41. Two of them are Hong Kong identity card holders and one of the two women has stayed in Hong Kong for about four years since her visa expired.

According to police, the ­remaining 14 suspects are Indonesian women – two asylum seekers and 12 domestic helpers.

Police began investigating the syndicate after receiving a complaint from the finance company in December.

Acting Senior Superintendent Wong Kwok-kit said investigations showed the three suspected masterminds helped many ­Indonesian women apply for ­personal loans from the finance company by forging employment contracts and working visas.

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Between June 2015 to December 2016, the syndicate helped at least 23 Indonesian women to apply for loans with copies of ­bogus employment contracts through the five branches of the finance company.

After a three-month investigation, police teamed up with officers from the Immigration Department on Tuesday and raided more than 15 locations across the city and arrested the Nepalese man and 16 Indonesian women for conspiracy to defraud.

Officers seized HK$150,000 along with two computers and a large amount of fake employment contracts in the operation.

The suspected male ringleader was arrested at his Causeway Bay flat, which was also used as a centre to manufacture forged documents, Wong said.

Local money lenders were urged to be cautious and enhance their vetting procedures.