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Hong Kong Police Arrest 175 Suspects in $100 Million Scam Operation

Hong Kong police have apprehended 175 individuals suspected of involvement in various scams that defrauded hundreds of victims out of HK$780 million (US$100 million). A police spokeswoman, as reported by the Hong Kong Standard newspaper, detailed that the arrests occurred during a 16-day operation from May 27 to June 11. The suspects, aged between 17 and 75, are linked to 141 cases of deception and money laundering involving 665 victims.

Hong Kong Police Arrest 175 Suspects in $100 Million Scam Operation

Many of those arrested are believed to have held 'stooge' bank accounts. These account holders are often used by fraud syndicates to launder money obtained from scams, serving as crucial accomplices in money laundering activities.

The victims of these scams include a diverse range of "well-educated professionals," such as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, investment analysts, and university researchers, aged between 15 and 89 years old. The suspects reportedly employed various deceptive tactics, including mass WhatsApp messages and impersonation of stock market figures, to promote investment plans that falsely promised high returns with low risk. They lured victims into investing in fraudulent online platforms by claiming to have insider trading information.

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Among the victims, a 73-year-old woman suffered the largest financial loss, amounting to HK$28 million (US$3.6 million), which was her life savings.

Out of the arrested individuals, five were buyers of stooge accounts, while the remaining 170 were the original owners of these accounts, who had allegedly provided their bank accounts to fraud syndicates for the purpose of collecting and laundering the scammed money.

Hong Kong police have issued a reminder to the public, cautioning against lending or selling their bank accounts to others for transactions involving unknown sources of cash, as they could face charges of money laundering. This offense carries a penalty of up to 14 years in jail and a HK$5 million fine.



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