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Saturday, Jul 24, 2021

Lovers targeted Hong Kong schoolgirls in HK$40,000 crime spree

Lovers targeted Hong Kong schoolgirls in HK$40,000 crime spree

Man 43, and woman, 35, detained on suspicion of stealing mobile phones, cash, and travel cards from children at city’s MTR stations.
Police arrested two lovers on Wednesday on suspicion of cheating nine schoolgirls out of more than HK$40,000 (US$5,000) in cash and valuables at different railway stations in Hong Kong over the past five months.

The man and woman were accused of preying on female pupils aged between 11 and 16 at different MTR stations between October last year and March this year.

Claiming they had lost their phone or wallet, the suspects asked their victims for help and then borrowed mobile phones, cash and even Octopus cards before fleeing with the items, according to Acting Chief Inspector Yam Suet-ying.

After checking security camera footage to gather evidence, officers arrested a 43-year-old man and his 35-year-old girlfriend at a guest house in Mong Kok at midday on Wednesday.

The pair were detained on suspicion of obtaining property by deception, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Yam said the suspects were linked to at least nine incidents and the value of the stolen property was more than HK$40,000.

As of Wednesday evening, the pair were being held for questioning and had not been charged.

In 2020, officers handled 15,553 reports of deception in the city, a 89.3 per cent rise from 8,216 in 2019.

Police attributed the increase to a rise in online shopping fraud, which soared 204 per cent from 2,194 cases in 2019 to 6,678 in 2020. These included about 2,500 cases in which people were cheated while trying to buy surgical masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

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