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Hong Kong police crackdown on a crime syndicate and arrest six people involved in money laundering. They laundered US$22.4 million cash in 7 months by illicit techniques.
Hong Kong police investigated a case reported by an 81 years old man who had fallen victim to phone fraud. The victim got a call and was asked for the bank details from the scammers, who claimed to be an officer at the Mainland China public security bureau. Scammers accused the victim of involvement in money laundering, asked for his bank account details and passwords for the verification process. The elderly man realised it was a scam when he noticed that US$4 million had been stolen from his bank account in small transactions between June and July.
Police investigated the case and arrested 6 people aged between 26 to 36 in a series of raids on 25th July. Suspects are in custody and being detained on suspicion of money laundering. Five of them are the holders of 33 bank accounts which are used by syndicates to clean their illegal funds.
The Senior Inspector of the force’s financial intelligence and investigation, Ng Kwan-lam, said, “ An investigation revealed that the six men were paid between hundreds of dollars and US $128 million to set up each bank account, But they had to hand over the account details, such as passwords, and bank cards to the syndicate.”
A 34-year-old man was found to be the core member of the syndicate, transferring all money from one bank account to another, he collected money from the victim’s account and laundered it. Further investigation showed they collected US$ 4 million from the 3 online investment scams and 24 phone scams.
Victims have reportedly lost US$11 million due to such scams, and only US$5 million of the money was laundered through bank accounts which came under the syndicate. Further investigation is underway to locate the remainder of the money, alongside what it may be being used for.