A father asked his young son to steal identity cards from his classmates so he could open bank accounts and deposit the proceeds from an $800,000 scam, a court heard yesterday. Ng Kai-wing, 42, exploited his son's obedience and led him astray, his lawyer Andrew Macrae told the District Court. The businessman, who masterminded the 'cunning and novel' scam, swindled nine people out of $813,000, assistant principal counsel Catherine Fung Shuk-yin said. Ms Fung said the two-year swindle started in August 1994 when Ng stole bank statements from mail boxes in Mei Foo Sun Chuen, Kowloon. He used the information on the bank documents to do a search at the Land Registry to check out the victims' properties, and obtain copies of documents with their signatures, the court heard. Ng then forged the signatures to apply for cheque books from banks. After taking the cheque books from the victims' mail boxes, Ng opened bank accounts with three stolen identity cards and deposited the cheques into the accounts. He told police he asked his 15-year-old son, Ng Chi-ho, to pick up identity cards from his classmates in order to open accounts. The father yesterday admitted 28 charges of theft, four of using a false instrument, one of attempting to steal and one of using an identity card relating to another person. Ng Chi-ho pleaded guilty to one charge of theft before Judge Donald Christie. Detective Senior Inspector Raymond Tang Sze-fun of the Mongkok police station said police were alerted when they received complaints from some of the victims. He said the police arrested the pair in November 1996 after a bank camera recorded the face of Ng Chi-ho who opened a bank account with his classmate's identity card. Mr Macrae told the court the father was driven to crime because he owed thousands of dollars to loansharks in Macau. He urged the judge to spare his son a jail term. Judge Christie adjourned the sentence until Monday.