The police have arrested 15 men and women on suspicion of credit card fraud involving HK$100 million, a Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesperson said at a press briefing yesterday.
The spokesperson said that after launching an investigation following a tipoff in July, the police identified a shop in Nape, disguised as a jewellery and phone shop but that was actually using POS (point of sale) devices from the mainland to commit massive credit card fraud for mainland gamblers to exchange their yuan into HK dollars, as well as an office and two flats in Zape.
The police arrested the 15 suspects on Monday, the spokesperson said. The police also seized 8 mainland POS devices and HK$600,000 in cash.
According to the spokesperson, the 15 suspects comprise nine mainland men, three local men and three local women, aged between 22 and 38. The spokesperson added that the police believe that two mainland men, surnamed Wang and Xue, aged 28 and 32 respectively, were the kingpins of the operation.
In a POS fraud such as this, the suspects tamper with the POS devices so that when a transaction is made, it fraudulently shows the location to be in the mainland, and thereby profit from the difference in merchant fees between the mainland and Macau.
The spokesperson said the 15 suspects had been operating the scam for six months, from July to December, swiping about HK$100 million, adding that the police believe the group made a profit of about HK$1 million.
The spokesperson said the police were still trying to find out how much the scam has cost UnionPay in lost transaction fees.
The 15 suspects have been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for possible arraignments on cyber and organised crime charges, the spokesperson said.