Sham Shui Po witnesses 100 arrests linked to HK$180 million in fraudulent funds

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22nd May 2024 – (Hong Kong) During the period from May 6th to May 20th, law enforcement personnel in Sham Shui Po District launched an operation aimed at countering fraudulent activities. As a result, they apprehended 75 men and 25 women, ranging in age from 17 to 75, on charges of suspected “obtaining property by deception” and money laundering. The individuals arrested had claimed various occupations, including cleaners, chefs, and renovators, but it is believed that the majority of them were merely acting as puppet account holders.

Among the arrested individuals, three men and one woman have already been charged with “obtaining property by deception” and money laundering. Their cases were presented before the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court from May 7th to May 18th for trial proceedings. The remaining arrested individuals have been granted bail and are required to report in June while further investigations take place.

It has been revealed that the arrested individuals are implicated in handling a total of 82 fraudulent cases, involving over HK$180 million in illicit funds. These scams encompass various domains, including investment fraud, job scams, online shopping scams, romance scams, and telephone scams. Within these cases, there are 295 victims who have suffered losses ranging from HK$1,500 to HK$23.7 million. Notably, the largest loss was incurred by an overseas male involved in the garment industry. He fell victim to an online recommendation to invest in virtual currencies and ended up depositing HK$23.7 million into the fraudulent puppet account.

The most significant number of victims was recorded in a case of online shopping fraud, where 54 victims (ranging from 27 to 47 years old) were deceived into purchasing discounted package deals, resulting in a collective loss exceeding HK$70,000. Authorities strongly urge citizens not to easily trust suspicious phone calls and messages, as well as refrain from disclosing personal account information to avoid falling victim to such scams. It is emphasised that renting, lending, or selling accounts for the purpose of facilitating criminal activities is considered a grave offence. Over the past year, the law enforcement department in Sham Shui Po District has prosecuted a total of 111 puppet account holders, with 34 individuals currently in the trial phase, and 11 individuals convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 4 to 28 months.