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Local woman loses HK$3.6 million in phone scam: police

A local woman has fallen victim has lost over HK$3.6 million (3.73 million patacas) in a phone scam, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Choi Ian Fai said during a regular press conference at the PJ headquarters Monday.  

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A local woman has fallen victim has lost over HK$3.6 million (3.73 million patacas) in a phone scam, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Choi Ian Fai said during a regular press conference at the PJ headquarters Monday.

According to Choi, the victim is a woman in her forties who works as a croupier.

Choi said that on May 18 the victim received a phone call from a person claiming to be a staff member of the delivery company SF Express. She was told that a parcel she had sent contained a prohibited item because of which it had been seized by the mainland’s Public Security Bureau. The call was later transferred to someone claiming to be a police officer. The victim told the “officer” that she hadn’t sent any parcel recently. The “officer” said that someone might have used her identity, and asked her to transfer a certain amount of money to a specific account for “verification”, otherwise she could be prosecuted and even jailed on the mainland.

According to Choi, the victim was instructed to go to three telecom shops located in Areia Preta, the Barrier Gate area, and Zape. She transferred about HK$3 million through the shops seven times in May and last month, with one of the transaction involving HK$1 million.

Choi said that two of the three telecom shops had been involved in previous telephone scams and were still under investigation.

According to Choi, the money was the victim’s savings and money which she had borrowed.

The victim was also instructed to go to a shop on the mainland late last month, Choi said, adding that there she transferred a further HK$260,000.

According to Choi, the Judiciary Police (PJ) believe that the victim was told to send money via a mainland shop on the last occasion as the local police were carrying out operations against telephone scams and local telecom shops suspected of serving as intermediaries for the telephone scammers, apart from providing illegal money changing and illegal remittance services.

Choi said that the victim finally suspected that she had been scammed and made a report to the Judiciary Police on Sunday.

He underlined that the victim lost a total of HK$3,629,000.

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