Hong Kong police arrest suspected member of gang that duped 17 people out of HK$350,000 with low-interest loan scams

·2 min read

Hong Kong police have arrested a man suspected of being part of a fraud syndicate that duped 17 people out of HK$350,000 (US$45,000) in low-interest loan scams over the past 11 months.

The jobless man, 37, was detained on Monday afternoon when he collected HK$15,000 from the 17th victim in Mong Kok.

Senior Inspector Cheung Man-tik, of the New Territories South regional crime unit, said the victim, 31, was told he had to pay the money as a “surety” to secure his loan.

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Senior Inspector Cheung Man-tik briefs the media on the case. Photo: Hong Kong Police
Senior Inspector Cheung Man-tik briefs the media on the case. Photo: Hong Kong Police

“After receiving ‘surety’, the scammers vanished and the victims were unable to get the loan amount [in the previous cases],” he said on Wednesday.

Officers arrested the suspect for conspiracy to defraud – an offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Cheung described the syndicate as “well-organised” with a clear division of work among its members, and said that while some were responsible for making the calls, others were assigned to collect money from the victims.

The investigation suggested the gang preyed on those who had a history of bad debt and could not secure loans from banks, Cheung said, adding scammers usually posed as employees of finance companies and made cold calls to their targets offering them “low-interest loans”.

Phone scammers cheat Hong Kong businesswoman out of HK$10 million

Victims were told they had to pay the surety to secure their loans. They realised they had been tricked when they did not receive the funds and could no longer find the “employees of the finance companies”.

Between December last year and October this year, the gang cheated 15 men and two women, aged 32 to 65, out of HK$350,000 in total.

According to the force, the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.

In the first six months of this year, police handled 8,699 reports of deception, up 7 per cent from 8,129 in the same period the year before.

This article Hong Kong police arrest suspected member of gang that duped 17 people out of HK$350,000 with low-interest loan scams first appeared on South China Morning Post

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