Police have arrested 17 men and women on suspicion of credit card fraud involving the equivalent of 350 million patacas, a Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesperson said during a special press briefing on Tuesday.
The spokesperson said the police recently received a tip-off that several jewellery shops and electronics shops in ZAPE were using POS (point of sale) devices from the mainland to commit massive credit card fraud.
After investigating, the police identified five shops and arrested the 17 suspects on Monday. The police also seized 11 mainland POS devices, credit card records, and a total of about 13 million in cash in Hong Kong dollars, patacas and yuan from the shops.
According to the spokesperson, the 17 suspects comprise 10 men and seven women, nine from the mainland and eight locals, aged between 24 and 55. The spokesperson added that four of them are owners of the five shops. While of them ran a shop without a business licence, two of the shops have the same owner, according to the spokesperson.
The spokesperson said the 17 had successfully committed the scam 4,549 times in the past 14 months, involving 285 million yuan (354 million patacas) and costing the Hong Kong branch of UnionPay about 710,000 patacas in lost transaction fees.
The 17 suspects have been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for possible arraignments on cyber crime charges, the spokesperson said.