Fraudsters score first in looting an MPF account

Local | Charlotte Luo 22 Feb 2019

Police uncovered a first-ever case of theft from a mandatory provident fund account as officers went about arresting three men and a woman involved in a fraud syndicate.

Investigators said the syndicate had been operating for about a month, with members delving into bags and mail to collect personal information to apply for debit and credit cards. Members then used the cards to make purchases or obtain cash.

One victim's identity card was stolen and used to take money from an MPF account for depositing in a bank account - also opened with the ID card. About HK$100,000 was withdrawn, though the victim had no idea of what had been happening.

The syndicate's operations began to be revealed after an executive at a trading company called police last week.

He told officers that two men used a check to buy a large number of printers - each worth HK$40,000 - at the end of last month.

After the printers were delivered, however, the check bounced and the executive could not contact the two men.

But police investigators tracked the two men and the printers to an industrial building in Kwai Chung. Then they arrested the men along with a woman aged from 28 to 30 at the building on Tuesday for obtaining property by deception.

Also in the premises police seized a printer, three computers, 25 debit and credit cards, 100 bank statements, 22 identification documents including identity cards, driving licences and mainland travel permits for Hong Kong and Macau residents.

All of the 22 identification documents were copies, and personal information from 80 people was reckoned to have been stolen.

Investigators also thought the printer was set up for more crimes.

Police also found a small amount of methamphetamine and apparatus fit for inhaling dangerous drugs on the premises.

Another man, 34, was arrested in a flat in Tseung Kwan O. He was also believed to be a member of the organization.

Police said they believed the operation had broken a fraud syndicate, although officers did not rule out more arrests.

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