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Fraudsters set up fake loan syndicate to scam unwary businessmen

Police arrest quartet who scammed more than half-a-million dollars from two mainland Chinese; in separate case, bogus teacher tricks mums by demanding payment for textbooks.

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Police arrest quartet who scammed more than half-a-million dollars from two mainland Chinese; in separate case, bogus teacher tricks mums by demanding payment for textbooks.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:39 am

Police have broken up a financial loan scam syndicate which cheated two mainland Chinese businessmen out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, arresting four suspects from Hong Kong and mainland China.

Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Lam said that the three mainland Chinese suspects are surnamed Lin (59), Xu (63) and Wang (56), while the Hong Kong suspect, surnamed Lo is aged 56. Ho added that Wang is the only female and the quartet are all jobless.

According to Ho, the first victim, a 41-year-old businessman, was introduced by a friend to Lo in August 2019 when Lo claimed that he was a manager of a Hong Kong bank. Lo then offered a HK$200 million loan to the victim, but required the victim to open a bank account and deposit HK$2.4 million, Ho said, adding that Lo requested a HK$600,000 fee after the loan was “approved”.

Ho said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lo suggested in February this year that the loan procedures should be processed in Macao in the presence of Lin as the “lender” and Xu, who acted as a local banking staff member. Ho added that the scammers had shown the victim various bogus cheques, bank cards and contracts to make the syndicate’s operation look legitimate.

According to Ho, the victim met the trio at a bank branch in Nam Van and signed the “financial loan” contract on 18 March, after which Lin deposited a HK$730,000 cheque into the victim’s new bank account as the first instalment. Ho said that Lo then claimed that the cheque would clear soon and demanded the promised HK$600,000 immediately, with the victim paying HK$530,000 to Lo. 

Later that day, the victim found out that the cheque had bounced, Ho said, adding that the victim then could not contact the trio. Ho noted that the victim later reported the case to the police, saying that he had been defrauded out of HK$530,000.

Ho said that the police arrested the trio plus Wang, who had been responsible for watching and following the victim before the transaction was carried out at a hotel in ZAPE on Monday. 

Ho said that during the questioning of the quartet on Monday the police discovered that they had been planning to defraud another mainland Chinese businessman. Ho noted that the second victim was supposed to meet Lo on Monday and could have fallen for the same scheme, as thus far he had been cheated out of a “clearance fee” of 7,800 yuan for the loan by the syndicate.

According to Ho, only Lo admitted to the crime and said that he took HK$200,000 as his share, while the others denied the accusation. The quartet were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office yesterday morning for follow-up investigation, facing charges of organised crime membership, document forgery and fraud involving substantial sums, Ho said. 

In a separate case, a scammer masquerading as a class teacher cheated parents into buying textbooks in a WeChat group, with two mothers falling for the scam and paying 395 yuan (MOP 473 patacas) each.

PJ spokesman Ho Chan Lam said that the fraudster had sneaked into a parent-teacher WeChat group, and set up an account using the identical name and profile picture of the real class teacher and asked the parents to pay 395 yuan each for textbooks on 3 August.

Ho said two mothers trusted the “class teacher” and transferred the money to the scammer, after which a teacher in the group said that there was no such request from the school. Ho noted that the scammer immediately left the group after he had been exposed.

Ho said that so far only two parents have reported the case, adding that the police are still investigating as to how the perpetrator was able to enter the WeChat group, The Macau Post Daily reported. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:39 am

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