Drivers facing points deductions for traffic offenses are being lured by an agent offering to take the rap on their behalf at prices ranging from HK$1,000 per point, Sing Tao Probe reported.
That was the hook in an advertisement on Facebook
, which came with a phone number for the agent, Chan.
A reporter, using a cover story that she was a driver facing a five-point hit for speeding, contacted Chan on WhatsApp.
In an auto-reply message, Chan asked the reporter to specify how many points was in the offing, the date of the offense, and whether she had to appear in court.
After she provided the information, he said: "Photograph the ticket, send it to me, and remit. For example, if you are deducted five points and fined HK$600, just remit me HK$5,600 and we will do the rest."
In another cover story, the reporter said she was a cargo van driver with a suspended license and was about to be deducted 10 points, with a court appearance looming.
Chan said he could arrange for a person to appear in court instead but would charge HK$20,000 on top of the HK$10,000 to "buy" the 10 points to be deducted.
The arrangements were to be made upon receipt of a HK$6,000 deposit, and Chan would teach the scapegoat how to deal with the prosecution's questions.
But if the police found out that the person was just the scapegoat, Chan said he would also teach the driver how to reply to police enquiries.
He provided her with his bank account details once she did accepted his offer.
Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association chairman Chow Kwok-keung said the advert was very likely a scam.
"It is not wise to transfer money to a stranger simply because of an online advert. You will find yourself in a trap when he tells you he cannot help eventually," Chow said.
He recalled that some people made a similar offer a few years ago, but that had died down as many were arrested for it.
Solicitor So Man-kit said both the client and service provider would be committing criminal offenses under such a scenario.
"For the client, he would be liable for the traffic offense but escape punishment, and for the service provider, he let the guilty one go and bear the responsibility after receiving money. Both have committed a perversion of the course of justice," So said.
"Since the money involved is property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence, both parties could be sued for money laundering," he added.
If found guilty for both offenses, they could face up to 14 years in jail.