3 lawyers and 9 others involved in massive property sale scam involving HK$62.7m

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Wai Pui Shuen and Sio, Chan In Devin

2nd September 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Commercial Crime Bureau of the Police recently detected a case of conspiracy to defraud and successfully dismantled a criminal syndicate of professionals.

The police arrested 12 people yesterday (1st) for using proxies to impersonate property owners by using false ID cards and stealing the titles of 8 properties through a law firm. The puppets then mortgaged the properties to finance companies to apply for loans. Several of the properties were sold by criminal syndicate.

The amount involved amounted to HK$62.7 million. It is known that those arrested include lawyer Sio, Chan In Devin, lawyer Wai Pui Shuen who participated in the election of the Western District Council, and another female lawyer Flora Lam Yan Fong. There are still suspects at large in the case, and the police have locked down the identities of those involved. The police received a referral from the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) at the end of last year regarding a property located in the old area of ​​To Kwa Wan. The property was included in the urban renewal plan in June 2018, but the URA has not been able to contact the owner to discuss the acquisition.

As of September last year, someone suddenly contacted the URA, claiming that the new owner of a property had commissioned negotiations on the acquisition. However, the URA discovered that the original owner had passed away as early as 1999, but the property was sold 21 years later, that is, in August 2020. The URA doubted the authenticity of the relevant building transactions. After investigation, the Commercial Crime Division found that there were other suspicious property transactions, so it took the initiative to investigate and found that between May last year and April this year, the other seven properties were used as loan collateral without the authorisation of the original owner. They were then resold to other buyers. The above eight properties involved were all long-term vacant units with relatively high age and mortgage free.The owners of the five properties have passed away more than 10 years on average.

The 8 properties involved in the case involved a total of more than 62.7 million Hong Kong dollars. The police conducted arrests and searches in various districts across Hong Kong yesterday, arresting a total of 8 men and 4 women (aged 33 to 58) for “conspiracy to defraud”. The arrested persons included 3 barristers and solicitors, 1 legal administrative clerk, 5 financial company employees, 2 account holders, etc., and seized the sale and purchase documents of the properties involved, loan application documents, bank documents, and many others. Regarding the arrest of two solicitors, the president of the Law Society, responded that he would not comment on individual incidents. Any professional misconduct will be investigated and handled in accordance with the established procedures of the Law Society.

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