A mainland man was arrested on Sunday for cheating a gambler from the mainland out of 726,500 yuan (MOP 854,400) in a currency exchange deal involving at least 763 fake Hong Kong dollar notes, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Choi Ian Fai said at a special press conference on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old male suspect surnamed Cao told the police that he is a businessman.
According to Choi, the male victim, who is in his thirties, called the police on Sunday. He told the police that he came to Macao on Saturday to gamble. Since he did not bring much cash, he phoned a friend in the mainland to introduce him to a money changer whom he then contacted through an app.
Both reached an agreement, and the victim paid the suspect 726,500 yuan in exchange for HK$800,000 to be paid in cash so that he could continue to gamble in local casinos. Choi said the victim met Cao in the lobby of a casino in Cotai on Sunday afternoon. Cao asked the victim to go to the latter’s hotel room to carry out the transaction.
Cao showed the victim eight packs of HK$1,000 notes wrapped in plastic bags and asked him to transfer the money first before he gave him the cash. After the victim had transferred 726,500 yuan with the help of his family in the mainland to two designated accounts in the mainland, Cao gave the Hong Kong dollar notes to the victim who, when starting to count the money, quickly found out that the notes were counterfeits. The victim stopped Cao from leaving the room and called the police.
According to Choi, Public Security Police (PSP) officers arrived at the scene and immediately transferred the case to Judiciary Police (PJ). PJ officers arrested Cao in the guestroom and seized 763 fake HK$1,000 notes.
While the deal was for HK$800,000 in cash for 726,500 yuan, the police only found 763 fake HK$1,000 notes in the guestroom.
Choi said the paper was rough, and all of the notes were photocopies. Thanks to CCTV footage, PJ officers discovered that Cao arrived at the hotel lobby with an accomplice on Sunday afternoon before he met the victim. Afterwards he met another accomplice and both went to a toilet in the hotel.
According to Choi, PJ officers suspect that the accomplice handed over the counterfeit Hong Kong dollar notes to Cao and told him to ask the victim to transfer the money first before giving him the bogus notes, Choi said.
According to Choi, Cao admitted that he came to Macao with the first accomplice from the mainland on Saturday to assist the latter in his currency exchange business, for which he was promised a daily income of 500 yuan (MOP 588). PJ officers are continuing to investigate and looking for the suspect’s two accomplices.
Choi said the suspect Cao was aware that the deal involved fake Hong Kong dollar notes, based on the evidence gathered by the investigation.
Cao was transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) on Tuesday, facing charges of fraud and circulation of fake notes, according to Choi.