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Crime

Girl, 18, arrested for helping phone scammers cheat two elderly men out of HK$180,000

The mainland tertiary student got to know the swindlers after she was conned by them last year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 4:49pm

A mainland tertiary student was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of helping phone scammers cheat two elderly men in Hong Kong out of HK$180,000.

The Post understands that the 18-year-old claimed that she got to know the phone scammers after she was conned by them last year.

Police believe that she was given 10 per cent of the money stolen from the victims, both in their 70s, as a reward.

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In the con, the girl posed as a police investigator from Shanghai. Hong Kong police seized a bogus certificate of appointment when they arrested her in Sha Tin.

On the fake document, it said she had been appointed as an investigator by Shanghai police department and authorised by the Shanghai Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which conducts both prosecution and investigations, to make arrests.

It also said the case under investigation was “classified as a Grade Two confidential case” and those who released details of the case without permission would be “arrested immediately and face an imprisonment of three to seven years”.

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Senior inspector Tang Hoi-tung of the Kowloon East regional crime unit said that initial investigations revealed the suspect had shown the document to the victims and claimed she was appointed by Shanghai’s public security bureau as an investigator to collect money from them.

The girl, who came to Hong Kong from Guangdong province last September, studies at one of the city’s tertiary institutions. 

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According to police, the first scam happened on November 28 when a 78-year-old man received a call from someone claiming to be a Shanghai police officer. The victim was accused of being involved in a money laundering case and ordered to pay HK$100,000 as surety. He was instructed to hand over the money to the suspect in Sha Tin on the same day.

Another victim, aged 74, was duped out of HK$80,000 on December 5 after he received a call from a bogus Shanghai police officer. He was instructed to take the money to Kowloon Bay.

Police said the money had been transferred to bank accounts on the mainland. Officers seized two remittance receipts from the suspect.

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On Thursday morning, the girl had been granted police bail pending further investigation. Detectives from the Kowloon East regional crime unit were handling the case.

According to police, phone scammers would typically pose as mainland security officials and accuse victims of breaking the law. They would then ask for money as a surety or make other excuses to get victims to hand over cash.