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Scams and swindles

Tourists in Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai have HK$360,000 stolen in sex stings by African asylum seeker and friend

Pair worked together to target expat men in bars in Hong Kong’s main entertainment hubs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 7:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 10:50am

Two women who lured drunken expat men in Hong Kong bars back to their flats or hotel rooms with the promise of sex have been arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash and valuables.

In total the pair, who also went on extravagant spending sprees with stolen bank cards, are believed to have stolen HK$360,000 (US$45,800) from five victims, with police managing to recover just HK$80,000 worth of valuables.

The pair – an asylum seeker and a visitor, both from Tanzania and in their late 20s – were picked up in the early hours of Thursday morning on Jaffe Road in Wan Chai after their latest victim called police.

Believed to be operating in the city since mid-April, the pair are understood to have targeted numerous men, with five victims coming forward so far.

The Post understands that four of the men, from Australia, Britain, Germany and India, lost HK$310,000 in cash and valuables in the scam.

The fifth man, a flatmate of one of the victims, lost HK$50,000 after his bank card was stolen and used to withdraw money from a cash machine, according to one police source.

On Friday afternoon the pair, aged 27 and 28, were still being held for questioning and had not been charged.

American tourist seeking sex in Hong Kong gets caught up in major anti-vice raid instead

They were eventually caught after the Australian tourist, aged 52, was targeted in a pub in the entertainment hub of Lan Kwai Fong, in the central business district, on Wednesday evening.

The man took the pair to his hotel room in Admiralty where they continued to drink, according to police.

After the two women left, the victim discovered his HK$70,000 watch, a HK$9,000 tablet and three bank cards were missing from a safe in his room. He called police at about 3.30am on Thursday.

Officers launched a manhunt and intercepted the two suspects in Wan Chai at about 6am that day. Police said all the man’s stolen property was found on the two women.

A police source said there was no evidence to suggest the victims were drugged in the incidents. “Some of the victims fell asleep, and the suspects then stole their cash and valuables and left,” the source said.

The two women, who are believed to have had sex with at least one of their victims, worked as a pair in the four cases, another police source said.

Be wary of someone who flirts overtly or offers sex services in a bar
Hong Kong police website

“An initial investigation showed the two suspects preyed on drunken expatriate men in pubs in Central and Wan Chai and used sex as a pretext for theft,” the source said. “They stole cash and valuables after being taken to the victim’s hotel room or flat.”

Police believe there are probably some unreported cases, in which victims did not lose a lot of money, and were too ashamed to seek help.

Tourists are easy targets for the city’s criminal element, and a police spokesman said people should do their best to guard their property against opportunistic crime.

The Hong Kong police website also warns visitors about the possible dangers of bars, nightclubs, or discos.

“Be wary of someone who overly flirts or offers sex services in a bar,” is one of the pieces of advice.

Although police do not believe drugs were a factor in these cases, they also warn that women who overly flirt, or offer sex services, may be endeavouring to “spike” a customer’s drink with narcotics, such as the date rape drug, Rohypnol.

Rohypnol and rip-offs: the dangers of Wan Chai drinking during Hong Kong Sevens

“The drugs diffuse quickly and are tasteless, odourless, and colourless,” the website says. “They cause victims to become disoriented, unconscious, lower their inhibitions as well as cause memory blackouts.

“Whilst under the influence of these drugs victims are induce to use or handover their credit/ATM cards and PINs to suspects.”