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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong convenience store workers arrested in connection with Lan Kwai Fong card fraud syndicate

Investigations are under way to determine if suspects were involved in a string of thefts and scams targeting tourists and pub-goers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2018, 7:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 May, 2018, 2:22pm

Two convenience store workers in Hong Kong have been arrested in connection with a series of theft and fraud cases in recent months in which tourists or pub-goers in Lan Kwai Fong were targeted.

On Saturday, officers detained a woman, 55, in Tsim Sha Tsui on suspicion of “conspiracy to defraud”, one day after a man, 21, was arrested in the same district over similar matters. 

Officers identified the duo as convenience store workers who had facilitated the use of stolen credit cards.

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Police declined to confirm on Sunday if the pair worked at the same convenience store.

Both were released on bail and required to report back to police in mid-June. 

In a related move, police on Friday also arrested an African expatriate, 23, accused of using a stolen credit card to buy goods worth some HK$1,300 (US$167) at the convenience store manned by the 21-year-old man at the time, authorities said.

The credit card in question was previously reported stolen in March by an Indian woman, 38, after she visited popular entertainment district Lan Kwai Fong.

The African man was charged with one count of obtaining property by deception and is expected to appear at Eastern Court on Monday.

Police investigations are under way and the force said on Sunday that more arrests could follow.

The trio in custody were believed to be members of a syndicate behind a number of theft and scam cases in Central in recent months. Victims were tourists and pub-goers. 

Another expatriate man, 35, suspected of being the leader of the syndicate, was arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui last Tuesday and expected to appear in court on July 6.

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Meanwhile, earlier this month, two women – an asylum seeker and a visitor, both from Tanzania – were arrested in Wan Chai for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash and valuables from drunken expatriate men in bars, then going on spending sprees with stolen bank cards.

The pair, aged 27 and 28, were also expected to appear in court on July 6.

Police told the Post earlier that some cases could have gone unreported, especially when victims did not lose a large amount of money.

There was no evidence that victims in the recent cases had been drugged.

But police advised pub-goers to be wary of having their drinks spiked with narcotics, such as the date-rape drug, Rohypnol, by strangers who approach them. 

The drugs are tasteless, odourless and colourless. 

They cause victims to become disoriented or unconscious, and they can also induce memory blackouts. Under the influence of the drugs, victims are persuaded to use or hand over their bank cards and PINs.