2 Hong Kong men arrested in bogus cheque scam involving mattresses that netted fraudsters HK$1.5 million

2 Hong Kong men arrested in bogus cheque scam involving mattresses that netted fraudsters HK$1.5 million

Hong Kong police have broken up a bogus cheque scam ring and arrested two men who posed as school or charity staff members to defraud businesses out of HK$1.5 million (US$191,535) in 25 cases.

The force said on Sunday the scammers had contacted city businesses, including renovation and maintenance firms, and claimed they represented schools or other charities such as homes for the elderly that needed work done or supplies.

They offered high commissions to entice business operators to place orders for mattresses with fake suppliers on behalf of the “schools” and homes, Chief Inspector Tam Tsz-wai, of New Territories north regional crime unit, said.

The scammers transferred dishonoured or invalid cheques and forged transfer screenshots to the companies.

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Hong Kong police have broken up a major scam that netted fraudsters about HK$1.5 million. Photo: Warton Li

The victims, who believed they had received the money, transferred cash to the fraudulent mattress suppliers, who were operating as part of the criminal network.

Police received a report about fraudsters attempting to deposit dishonoured cheques through an ATM on Friday. Two men, aged 33 to 44 and suspected to be errand runners, were detained.

One of the two claimed to be unemployed and the other said he worked in warehousing.

Police found 90 cheque deposit slips on the men, believed to be linked to at least 25 scam cases that involved HK$1.5 million.

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A victim was cheated out of HK$470,000 in the biggest single case uncovered.

Tam said, as well as posing as school staff, the scammers also said they were affiliated with charities.

“The scammers usually claimed they were doing charity work for NGOs or homes for the elderly to make mattress orders, taking advantage of the goodwill of the victims,” he said.

He appealed to the public to use caution when they received orders for goods from individuals not known to them and to verify the availability of funds in their accounts after cheques were said to have been deposited.

But Tam warned an increase in the account balance would not guarantee a successful transfer.

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