Nine locals – six men and three women – were arrested on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a cross-border criminal gang engaged in money laundering.
Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Chan Wun Man said that the nine suspects, aged between 26 and 50, include two construction workers and two shop assistants while the remainder are unemployed.
Chan said that in Mid-March, the manager of a jewellery shop in the city centre reported to the PJ that he had received a call from a bank that some mainland Chinese who used debit cards to shop at his store were suspected of spending the proceeds of fraud, because of which part of the transaction was suspended.
Chan pointed out that on 11 March, four mainland Chinese used five debit cards to buy gold bars worth MOP 5.92 million, from two jewellery shops – one in the city centre and the other in the northern district. Chan added that they bought up to 60 taels of gold each time, worth up to MOP 1.23 million.
Information provided by the police in mainland China confirmed that MOP 2.97 million of the total amount were the proceeds of telecommunications fraud, Chan said, adding that 55 mainland Chinese had separately reported losses of thousands of yuan each from the scam.
According to Chan, the gang used mainland China bank accounts to receive payments from its fraud victims, recruited members, and sent the owners of the bank accounts to Macao to buy gold bars, adding that the gang also recruited local members to handle a range of different tasks.
Chan said that the two female suspects, surnamed Chan and Lai, and a man who is still at large, held the five debit cards, monitored the whole process of buying gold – which was carried out by the four mainland Chinese – and handed over the gold to the two male suspects, surnamed Fong and Man, as well as a female suspect surnamed Ieong who is Man’s wife.
After the three suspects received the gold from Chan, Lai and the male suspect who is still at large drove to ZAPE to pass the gold to the two male suspects surnamed Hon and Lei, who then drove to a shop in NAPE and gave the gold to the two male suspects surnamed Chan and Lei who worked in the shop.
Chan noted that the nine suspects had repeated their fraudulent operations five times on 11 March.
Chan said that on Wednesday the Judiciary Police arrested the nine suspects, seized HK$650,000 and MOP 87,000 in cash, one tael of gold grain and four private cars.
Chan pointed out that most of the suspects refused to cooperate with the police and reveal the whereabouts of the gold, adding that only some of the suspects admitted to being part of the gang and having been paid MOP 3,000 for each operation.
The nine suspects were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office where they face charges of money laundering and organised crime, Chan noted, underlining that the Judiciary Police are continuing their investigation by looking for members of the gang still at large, tracing the kingpin and the money defrauded from the victims, The Macau Post Daily reported.