Local trio defraud credit card users out of 5.9 million patacas

2024-03-22 03:34
BY Yuki Lei

The Judiciary Police (PJ) busted on Wednesday a local credit card fraud gang, in which two businessmen and a female insurance agent illegally obtained a large amount of credit card information and used the data to carry out counterfeit transactions online through their businesses, defrauding at least 71 non-local credit card users out of 5.9 million patacas in 110 bogus “transactions” between late November and early December last year, PJ spokesman Cheong Kim Fong announced yesterday.

Cheong said during a special press conference that the two male suspects, aged 33 and 32, surnamed Sio and Fok, own, respectively, a car dealership and a beauty parlour, as well as an engineering company. The female suspect, aged 31, is surnamed Che.

According to Cheong, the Judiciary Police received a credit card fraud report from a local bank and a foreign card-issuing organisation on December 19 last year, saying that at least 71 credit cards of their overseas users were found to have made unusual transactions at several local merchants during the month, involving 110 transactions, totalling 5.9 million patacas.

A PJ investigation showed, Cheong said, that the victims’ credit cards were frequently and intensively used for repeated transactions at a number of local merchants, involving automobile, beauty salon and engineering businesses, within a short period of time, with all of them being used via online payment platforms by smartphones.

The Judiciary Police identified the three suspects and arrested them separately in the peninsula’s Areia Preta, Barra and Rua da Praia do Manduco neighbourhoods, as well as in Taipa, on Wednesday morning.

Under questioning, the trio refused to cooperate with the police, Cheong said. However, he added, there was strong evidence that the three suspects worked together as a criminal organisation to obtain a large amount of credit card information through illegal means and defrauded the card-issuing organisation of at least 4.4 million patacas by making fraudulent transactions online through their businesses after linking the victims’ credit card data with mobile banking apps.

In the operation, according to the press conference, the police seized seven computers, 240,000 patacas in cash, a number of designer handbags, 10 credit cards and account books from the trio’s homes, shops and company premises.

Cheong said that at the time of the press conference, the Judiciary Police were still investigating whether there were other suspects involved in the case and how the trio illegally obtained their victims’ credit card information, adding that none of the 71 credit card data involved local residents.

The threesome were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) yesterday, where they face charges of organised crime, money laundering, and fraud involving a considerably large amount of money, Cheong noted.

In addition, while investigating the case, the Judiciary Police uncovered another case of illicit cigarette trading, which was referred to the Macau Customs Service (SA) for follow-up investigation, Cheong said. 

Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Cheong Kim Fong (centre), flanked by two PJ officers, poses during yesterday’s special press conference about Macau’s latest credit card fraud gang, with various items of evidence, including cash, a designer handbag, credit cards and several point of sale (POS) machines, displayed in the main pressroom of the PJ headquarters in Zape yesterday.
– Photo: Yuki Lei

PJ officers escort the three hooded local credit card fraud suspects from the PJ headquarters to a PJ vehicle yesterday.


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