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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020

Hong Kong airport worker accused of conning surgical mask shopper out of HK$3.3 million denied bail

Hong Kong airport worker accused of conning surgical mask shopper out of HK$3.3 million denied bail

Sit Man-ying, 32, appears at Tuen Mun Court charged with obtaining property by deception. More than 1,180 mask scams have been reported in Hong Kong since the Covid-19 outbreak, police say
An airport ground worker accused of duping a woman trying to buy surgical masks out of more than HK$3 million was remanded in custody by a court on Monday.

Prosecutors alleged that Sit Man-ying, 32, dishonestly obtained HK$3,321,726 (US$427,323) from Lam Hiu-ling between February 15 and 28 by lying that she had masks for sale.

Sit, who was employed by Hong Kong Airport Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, was charged at Tuen Mun Court with one count of obtaining property by deception. The offence carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

She was not required to enter a plea, with officers needing time to investigate the case.

Prosecutors said police would look into the defendant’s travel history and her conversation records with Lam. They would also acquire security footage from four locations where the defendant was said to have met the victim.

Sit was denied bail and will remain behind bars until her next hearing on May 4 in West Kowloon Court. She can renew her bail application on March 16 in Kwun Tong Court.

It was not revealed in court how many masks Sit had promised to sell to Lam. It was also unclear whether the HK$3.3 million was all Lam’s or if she had collected cash on behalf of others for the attempted purchase.

Hong Kong authorities have warned against scams arising from the frenzied buying of masks during the coronavirus epidemic.

As of Monday, 1,189 mask scams had been reported to police since the Covid-19 outbreak, with estimated losses totalling HK$37.8 million. Twenty-one men and six women have been arrested.

Last month, warehouse worker Kwok Tsz-hin was charged with fraud for allegedly cheating a woman out of HK$1,000 after claiming he had 10 boxes of masks to sell. The case will be heard in West Kowloon Court on March 30.
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