Police arrest seven suspects in HK$76 million charity scam

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30th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Local authorities have dismantled a fraudulent syndicate and apprehended seven individuals involved in an elaborate charity scam. Exploiting the goodwill of citizens, the culprits posed as representatives of a charitable organisation and urged the public to make purchases from a “designated supplier” for the benefit of schools and charitable causes. However, after receiving the goods, they proceeded to issue worthless checks to the unsuspecting citizens, only to disappear the following day. The investigation has revealed that the total amount involved in this scam reached a staggering HK$76 million, with the majority of funds being intercepted by the police in collaboration with financial institutions. The fraudsters managed to successfully obtain approximately HK$1.2 million, victimising over ten individuals.

According to a spokesperson for the police, the Criminal Investigation Division of the West Kowloon District acted on intelligence and conducted extensive investigations leading to the arrests. The operation, codenamed “Windmaster,” took place on May 28th and 29th across various districts in Hong Kong. Four local male suspects and three local female suspects, ranging in age from 37 to 57, were detained on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud. Most of them claimed to be unemployed but were identified as key members of the fraudulent syndicate, suspected to have ties to organised crime. The apprehended individuals are believed to be connected to over 200 scams that occurred between May 6th and 27th.

Authorities have discovered nearly 200 checks issued in May alone, amounting to a staggering HK$76 million. The criminal group primarily operated in the West Kowloon area, utilising counterfeit checks at various bank counters and automated deposit machines. Fortunately, the police managed to identify and contact some of the victims through the banks, and most of them did not suffer any financial losses. However, there are approximately ten victims who collectively lost around HK$1.2 million, with the largest single case involving HK$400,000.