A local man borrowed a government-issued consumption subsidy smartcard – popularly known as “green card” – from his septuagenarian neighbour and “sold” it together with his own card for a total of 4,800 patacas which he then gambled away, Public Security Police (PSP) spokesman Choi Iok Kin said in a regular press conference on Wednesday.
The suspect surnamed Leong, who is in his forties, told the police that he is unemployed.
The victim reported to the police on May 7 that he was approached by Leong on April 30 who wanted to borrow his “green card” to buy something worth 500 patacas the next day together with Leong’s card as the daily spending limit of each card is 300 patacas, and Leong claimed that he did not have enough cash with him. The victim said Leong promised that he could use his card on May 2 as repayment, according to Choi.
The victim said Leong told him on May 1 that he had “sold” the former’s card for 4,000 patacas, which led to a quarrel. The victim continued asking Leong to return the card to him many times but to no avail, and he lost contact with Leong on May 7 so that he reported the case to the police, according to Choi.
Choi said the police was able to track down Leong and arrested him at the public Conde S. Januário Hospital Centre on May 10. Leong denied that he defrauded the victim and claimed that the victim “sold” the card to him. Leong told the police that he “sold” the victim’s and his own card for 4,800 patacas outside a casino area but refused to name the casino and the person who “bought” the two cards. Leong told the police that he had gambled all the money away.
The police have notified the Economic Services Bureau (DSE) about the case. The bureau told the police that it will take legal action against Leong, according to Choi.
Leong was transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) last Tuesday, facing a fraud charge.
It is illegal to sell or buy the consumption subsidy cards which have been issued by the government with the aim of boosting the local economy which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. However, the cards are transferrable.