The long arm of the law finally caught up with a crooked Hong Kong businessman last Friday, when he was arrested for defrauding four people out of HK$226 million a decade ago by offering them a fake high-interest deposit plan in a “casino-based operation”.
Judiciary Police (PJ) spokeswoman Lei Hon Nei said that the 48-year-old suspect is a businessman surnamed Lee.
According to Lei, PJ officers were informed by four locals in late 2012 that they had been persuaded by Lee and “a partner” to deposit cash in a “casino-based operation”.
Lei said the “operation” was allegedly linked to VIP rooms in casinos in ZAPE and Cotai. Lei added that the “operation” was closed in November 2012 and Lee fled Macao in 2013. During the investigation, PJ officers found that Lee’s “operations” were not part of the VIP room operations.
Lei said that two of the victims said they had lost a total of HK$177 million in Lee’s purported deposit plan with an interest of 30 per cent a year, while another victim deposited 20 million yuan (MOP 23.8 million at the current exchange rate) in August of the same year with a purported 15-to-30-per cent monthly interest rate.
Lei noted that the victim actually received 300,000 (MOP 357,500) to 600,000 yuan in “interest” in September and October respectively, but she was unable to retrieve the remaining investment fund after Lee’s business ended.
The fourth victim deposited HK$24.4 million in gambling winnings in Lee’s “casino-based operation”, attracted by its high-interest rates, but lost all the money. Lei underlined that the four victims lost a total of over HK$226 million.
Lee was apprehended when he entered Macao through the Barrier Gate checkpoint on Friday. Lee denied the accusations and has been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office for follow-up investigation, facing fraud charges.
His accomplice is still on the run, The Macau Post Daily reported.