Police recovered more than HK$1 million (US$129,000) worth of high-end products bought with stolen credit card information and intended for buyers in mainland China during a raid on a Hong Kong flat on Tuesday.
Officers arrested a 26-year-old insurance agent accused of picking up the goods from upscale shops across the city then sending them across the border to a waiting criminal syndicate over the past three months.
The gang would buy the luxury items, which included watches, handbags and shoes, online using the credit card information, according to Inspector Wan Tin-sing of the Yau Tsim criminal investigation unit, then ship them to the mainland “via rapid delivery service”.
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Police are investigating how much money the accused middleman was paid for each job.
The case came to light when a report was made to police on Tuesday morning, saying three Gucci handbags worth about HK$50,000 had been bought online and were to be picked up at the luxury brand’s shop in the Elements shopping centre in West Kowloon.
The man, who came to the city from the mainland with a working visa about five years ago, was apprehended in a police ambush when he showed up to collect the handbags. Officers also seized about HK$100,000 in cash he was carrying.
In a follow-up raid on his First Street flat in Sai Ying Pun, police found more than HK$1 million worth of luxury products including 11 Cartier watches, seven handbags, belts and scarves.
The man was arrested on suspicion of obtaining property by deception, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
The suspect was still being held for questioning at Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station as of Thursday afternoon. Police said he was likely to be charged with obtaining property by deception.
Wan said the investigation showed the suspect had been recruited by the syndicate via a social media platform about three months ago, and was compensated for the illegal activities.
“We are still looking into how the syndicate got the credit card information and how many victims were involved,” he said, adding the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.
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