Anyone come across this sort of looniness?
A gang suspected of fleecing four tourists out of $190,000 in a series of scams was arrested in Yau Ma Tei yesterday.
The three men and a woman - all Filipinos aged between 36 and 55 - were taken to Tsim Sha Tsui police station after a raid on a guesthouse in Shanghai Street.
Police said the syndicate preyed on foreign travellers at shopping malls. They told the tourists their relatives would soon leave Hong Kong to work or study in the travellers' countries.
They would invite the tourists to meet the relatives at their homes and then lure them into playing cards with them for money.
The victims were encouraged to draw money from ATMs to continue the games. Those unable to draw money were persuaded to buy gold items at nearby shops with their credit cards and to gamble with them.
"The suspects would then insist the victims did not have enough money to carry on with the poker game and persuade them to leave some of their personal belongings behind while they went out to withdraw more money," a police spokesman said.
When the tourists returned, the gang members would be gone with their belongings.
Police said three cases implicating the suspects and involving four tourists from Canada and Japan had been reported in the past few months.
When the guesthouse was searched at 10am yesterday, the four suspected syndicate members were allegedly in the process of trying to cheat a 31-year-old Canadian tourist. A small amount of US dollars and several credit cards were seized.