Friday, 5 December 2014

Crooks Try to Scam Police

We love today's story in the news about a mainland Chinese con artist in Hong Kong who tried to extort money through a phone scam by calling the police.

The con artist called three officers at Kwun Tong station yesterday using the lines, "This your son. Help!" and "Your son has a debt problem. Pay money or he will be beaten."

The scamers probably randomly called numbers and had the good luck of calling three phone numbers of three police officers.

The first call was put to Chief Inspector Chung Chi-ming, who knew it was a trick and tried to persuade the con artist to collect the money face to face. He then asked lots of questions and so the scammer hung up.

Then Superintendent David Cameron, who was briefed about the scam, was called. However because of his broken Cantonese, the con artist was suspicious and hung up.

The third call was made to Senior Inspector Li Ka-yan. She managed to negotiate the scammers to knock down their initial demand of HK$300,000 ($38,704) down to HK$100,000. They then demanded she go to Hoi Yuen Road in Kwun Tong to hand over the money.

"A 23-year-old man was picked up when a female sergeant posing as the victim handed over an envelope containing blank paper," a police source said.

The suspect is from Guangdong who arrived in Hong Kong on Monday. He was still being questioned last night and has not been charged. Kwun Tong district crime squad is investigating.

In the first six months of this year, police had 1,178 reports of telephone scams, compared to 2,047 for the whole of last year, with losses of HK$39.2 million.

A veteran police officer believes it is the first time phone scammers had called a police station...

This reminds me of when I received a dodgy phone call with a mainland number showing up on my call display about six months ago. The gruff voice at the other end of the line claimed he was my uncle, saying he was in Hong Kong.

I immediately thought this was strange because my uncle does not have my mobile number and the way he talked was not similar even though he immediately changed his tone to be more polite-sounding.

He asked to meet the following day at 10am and again this was weird because my uncle would know I would be at work so I said how about after office hours.

This guy did call again the following day but I didn't answer. The call display on my phone now says "fake uncle"!

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