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As coronavirus spreads, scammers cash in on Hongkongers’ desperation for surgical masks

On-line scammers cashing in on a scarcity of surgical masks in coronavirus-hit Hong Kong have duped residents out of greater than HK$1mil (RM533,312), in accordance with police.

The pressure has acquired 301 studies of on-line masks scams, involving a complete of HK$1.1mil (RM586,643) misplaced, Chief Inspector William Siu Ching-lim of the cybersecurity bureau stated on Feb 13.

“The amount of cash concerned in every case ranged from HK$100 (RM53) to HK$250,000 (RM133,328),” Siu stated, including that police had arrested 10 males and two girls in reference to a number of the circumstances. He didn’t say what number of victims had been concerned.

In a single case, greater than 1,000 individuals had been scammed out of a complete of HK$200,000 (RM106,662) in every week, in accordance with police.

Chief Inspector Jacky Sheung Chun-kit, assistant district commander on Lantau Island, stated an advert was posted on Fb between Jan 29 and Feb 4, saying Japanese surgical masks had been on the market at HK$50 (RM26) for a field of 50.

A field of 50 was lately offered for about HK$500 (RM267) at a store in Tsim Sha Tsui, with residents desperately trying to find provides amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, which causes the lethal sickness Covid-19.

Police stated the victims adopted directions from the net platform and made the funds into two designated financial institution accounts.

“The victims realised they had been conned when they didn’t obtain the products and so they couldn’t discover the net commercial. They then referred to as police,” Sheung stated.

Police arrested two Hongkongers aged 33 and 40 in Mong Kok and Lantau in reference to the rip-off. It was understood the 2 males had been the holders of the financial institution accounts used to gather the cash.

As of 1pm on Feb 13, they had been being held for questioning and had not been charged.

The town had 51 confirmed circumstances of the virus, and one associated fatality. Greater than 60,000 individuals had been contaminated in mainland China.

With on-line adverts that includes CSI-labelled surgical masks – made by inmates at factories inside prisons for Correctional Providers Industries – the pressure reminded the general public to not purchase masks from unknown sources, including that they may have been stolen.

Siu famous that members of the general public had been seen sporting CSI masks, that are supposed for presidency use.

He urged the general public to remain alert and solely purchase from on-line platforms with an excellent fame. “If doubtful, name the Anti-Rip-off Helpline [on] 18222,” the chief inspector stated.

Individually, police acquired two studies of surgical masks stolen from completely different public hospitals.

In a single case, officers arrested a 56-year-old feminine contract cleaner at Princess Margaret Hospital on Jan 30, on suspicion of stealing gadgets from a ward, together with 14 surgical masks, 22 N95 respirator masks and a few surgical gloves. – South China Morning Submit

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