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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police arrest 10 suspects in HK$6.7 million credit and identity card theft case

Ring members stole documents in public areas then used them to apply for loans and buy luxury goods like electronics, watches, handbags and perfume

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 10:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 10:07am

Hong Kong police arrested 10 people in a crackdown on a syndicate that stole credit cards and identity cards in public venues before racking up purchases and loan applications totalling more than HK$6.7 million (US$855,000).

In a two-day operation that began on Tuesday, officers from the Commercial Crime Bureau and the Island Regional Crime Unit rounded up nine men and a woman aged 21 to 63, including the 53-year-old male ringleader, and seized high-end products including electronic devices, watches, handbags and perfume.

A large number of credits cards and Hong Kong identity cards were also recovered, along with passports and bank documents.

The ring members used stolen credit cards or credit cards obtained with fake identities in 49 cases this year to make HK$4.1 million in purchases. In one case, the victim lost HK$620,000. The purchases would be later sold online.

The scammers also used the stolen identity cards and supporting documents to obtain bank loans. Three such applications – made using a businessman’s identity card and involving HK$2.65 million in total – were approved, but the money flow was intercepted by police.

Syndicate members looked for targets in cafes, beaches or changing rooms at public swimming pools and sports centres, police said. They would take the cards from wallets in the victims’ pockets or bags, then put the wallets back so that the thefts would not be easily detected.

Most of the suspects arrested had triad backgrounds.