THE rash of letters and calls about Johnny Wong shows he has swindled large numbers of you. It's not just small stuff, either. He does several people a day, asking for up to $1,000 each. He seems to be a former airline employee with a criminal record, according to information provided by Penny Archer of Sunpac Tours and Mike Wagstaff of Sandra Wagstaff Violins. The net tightens. Even the modus operandi seems to be stolen, we heard from Michael Matthews of Regent International Hotels. The con is similar to a popular New York swindle. Mr Matthews was strolling up Fifth Avenue near Grand Central Station in New York, when he was stopped by a passer by. This elegantly dressed gentleman said he had had his pocket picked and had lost his commuter train ticket to a fashionable suburb in Connecticut. He handed Michael his business card, identifying himself as Mr Cavendish, a partner in a well-known Park Avenue law firm. ''Could I borrow US$50? I'll have it returned by messenger to your office tomorrow,'' he said. The next day, Michael did not hear from him. So he phoned the law firm and asked for Mr Cavendish. No such person. But this is the weird bit. A week later, he was stopped on the street by the same man - telling the exact same pack of lies. ''You've already had me, so p*** off,'' said the annoyed hotelier. Mr Cavendish apologised. Then the cheeky high-class thief said: ''If you wait a few minutes, I'll 'borrow' from someone else and pay you back.'' Benchmark AVID Rugby Sevens fan Sean Healy sat on the alcohol-free upper tier to watch the games on Sunday. Just below him, roughly at the centre line, was a group of people who were particularly loutish and bothersome. This rowdy gang decided to flout the no-alcohol rule, smuggling in supplies of beer. During the afternoon, they became open about it, brazenly arguing with the stewards over the booze supply. ''The worst thing about it is that they were all members of the Hongkong judiciary,'' said Mr Healy. This fits with everything we've heard about Hongkong judges. The moment they get their wigs off, they turn into a bunch of young tearaways. Should be locked up. Potato sex LETTER received from Ian Hart of the Centre for Media Resources, University of Hongkong: ''Dear Lai See, all this interest in your column about funny accents has reminded me of a milestone in Australian publishing.'' Mr Hart recalled Let Stalk Strine by Professor Afferbeck Lauder. The title of the book is how an Australian says ''Let's talk Australian''. Professor Lauder told the story of how novelist Monica Dickens was autographing books, and a woman held out a copy to her. ''Emma Chizzit,'' said the woman. Ms Dickens wrote on the fly leaf ''To dear Emma Chizzit with kindest regards from Monica Dickens.'' ''No,'' said the woman becoming agitated. ''What surprise.'' The woman was asking ''How much is it?'' and ''What is the price?'' Other phrases in Strine: GLORIA SOAME: patron saint of real estate agents, as in ''Gloria Soame, four bedrooms, two bath.'' AORTA: The source of all our troubles, as in ''Aorta fix the roads, and Aorta cut the taxes.'' SEX: cloth bags in which you keep potatoes. Bar maids OH dear. Things are getting worse and worse in the Hongkong bar business. One bar owner in Central has been charged by police of having 14 domestic servants, according to the word on street. Most helpers spend their time feeding and watering helpless babies in Mid-Levels flats. These particular Filipinas were doing the same thing for helpless persons of a slightly older age in a different location. The plan to give away a pint of booze with every peanut purchased has also been scuppered. Apparently, the Hongkong version of the liquor laws forbids people from ''selling or supplying'' alcohol without a licence. No booze, no staff, no licences. Oh well, think of it as a challenge, bar-owners. Blacker eyes JOVIAL private banker Mark Blacker, senior director of American Express Bank in Hongkong, had a faraway look in his eyes yesterday. ''As the number of days remaining to my retirement date dwindle rapidly to single digits, I ran across a quotation in a newspaper and realised how unfair life really is,'' he sighed. He showed us the cutting, which said: ''He's everything I'm not, He's young; he's beautiful; he has lots of hair; he's durable; he has a large bank account; and his entire sex life is before him.'' This was sports-writer Si Burick on the retirement of Secretariat, a horse which won the Triple Crown in the United States. No, it wasn't about you, Richard Li.