Female warder extorts 78,000 patacas from ex-prisoner: police

2024-05-13 03:33     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:6

A local female jail guard was arrested in Nape on Thursday for allegedly extorting a total of 78,000 patacas from a female ex-prisoner on several occasions since January 2022 by threatening to “disclose her personal details” and “disturb her family”, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Lou Chan Fai said at a special press conference on Friday. 

Lou identified the 33-year-old suspect, surnamed Lok, as a prison officer who joined the Correctional Services Bureau in 2013.

The Judiciary Police, according to Lou, received a report on Thursday from the middle-aged victim, who was once an inmate and got to know the suspect during her incarceration, saying that after she was released from the penitentiary in January 2022, Lok repeatedly demanded money from her to help repay her debts by threatening to “disturb her family” and informing her employer about her situation as an ex-prisoner. The victim told the police that as she was worried that Lok would hurt her family, she handed over a total of 78,000 patacas to Lok over a period of two years.

With the victim initially thinking that the extortion was over, she was dismayed when Lok contacted her again and demanded up to 180,000 patacas, Lou said, adding that fearing for her family’s safety, the victim finally chose to report the case to the police.

The Judiciary Police launched an investigation and set up a sting operation at a restaurant in Nape following Lok’s phone call again demanding money from the victim, according to Lou, who noted that PJ officers arrested Lok at the eatery on Thursday afternoon when she appeared there in response to the victim’s arrangement. 

Under questioning, Lok refused to cooperate, but PJ officers found direct evidence of money transfers and receipts on both Lok and the victim’s mobile phones, Lou said, adding that the Judiciary Police transferred her on Friday to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) for further investigation, facing a blackmail charge. 

‘Absolutely unacceptable’: DSC

Meanwhile, the Correctional Services Bureau (DSC) said in a statement on Friday that it was “highly” concerned about the detention of a female prison officer suspected of extorting money from an ex-prisoner and her transfer to the Public Prosecutions Office for further investigation, adding that the incident was very serious and “absolutely” unacceptable, and the bureau was “extremely” shocked by it. 

Friday’s statement quoted the bureau as stressing that it would severely punish any disciplinary offences committed by its officers, adding that internal disciplinary proceedings and preventive suspension measures against the suspect have meanwhile been initiated and taken, holding her accountable for her disciplinary responsibilities in accordance with the law.

“The bureau is also following up on the situation of the victim and will do its best to take all possible support and safeguard measures to ensure that the victim can better reintegrate into society,” Friday’s statement highlighted, stressing that the progress and outcome of the disciplinary investigations of the suspect will be announced in a timely manner through the relevant official channels. 

Meanwhile, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak yesterday expressed “shock and outrage” about the case.  

Judiciary Police (PJ) officers escort the hooded prison guard suspected of blackmailing an ex-prisoner from the PJ headquarters in Zape to a PJ vehicle on Friday. – Photo: Maria Cheang Ut Meng

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