Mask scam in Hong Kong preying on coronavirus desperation cons seven people out of HK$3 million
Woman, 31, arrested in Tsing Yi on Saturday for obtaining property by deception
Police believe there could be more victims of the con targeting people trying to protect themselves from Covid-19
A Hong Kong woman was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of cheating more than HK$3 million out of seven people wanting to buy surgical masks during the coronavirus epidemic.
Police said they received reports this week of a woman calling people up in February claiming to have masks for sale, before seeking a down payment in cash from those who were interested.
“But after the victims paid the deposits, they did not receive the goods and could not contact the seller,” a police statement said. “They suspected they were being cheated, so reported their cases to the force.”
Officers believe there are at least seven victims of the con, losing more than HK$3 million in total.
They arrested a 31-year-old woman in Tsing Yi on Saturday afternoon for obtaining property by deception. A mobile phone and cash were also seized as evidence.
The outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has triggered a shortage of masks in Hong Kong since late January, with desperate residents queuing for hours and looking overseas for supplies.
A Consumer Council member earlier reported that about 100 Hongkongers had fallen victim to mask scams orchestrated by an organised gang on Facebook.