The Sun 19th August 2013 Chinese Car Accident Scam Gangs in HK
China’s “car accident scam” gangs prey in Hong Kong! Recently, a group of “car accident scam” cons from China have arrived Hong Kong with tourist visa, and started to prey their victims in both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon side. A Hong Kong driver was accused of “hitting” a Chinese woman, who refused to go to the hospital for injury assessment, and her fellow con gang immediately ask the driver to pay up. The driver eventually paid for them to leave. Similar cases were reported in both Shum Shui Po and Wan Chai. A witness of one of these cases said that it was lucky that the driver installed a camera in his car, otherwise the con gang would not have fled. A professional driver organisation said that these con gangs change move around in different district, which makes it difficult for the police to react. The organisation worries that this type of con activities will increase in Hong Kong.
Mr Pang was one of the victims of the car accident con. With over 10 years driving experience said that he was on his way to meet a friend in June. As he was reversing to park on Tak Ku Ling Road in Kowloon Tong, he suddenly heard a “bang”. He immediately got off his vehicle to check, and found a woman lying on the road and looked like she was in pain. Pang went over to see what he could help. Although there was no obvious injury on this woman, she continued to shout “Ouch, it hurts!”
The woman spoke to Pang in broken Cantonese, and made a phone call with some sort of Chinese dialect. Within two minutes, seven men who all speak the same Chinese dialect arrived at the spot. One of them said, again, spoke to Pang in broken Cantonese and threatened Pang, “leave us your phone number, if there’s anything wrong with her tomorrow, we will call you!” Pang worried that they may con him for money and refused to give his phone number to the man. Another man of the gang said, “pay up US$25 compensation!” Since the woman insisted that Pang run her over, he had to give in. However, when Pang asked them to sign a piece of paper agreeing not to press charge, the woman refused “I will not sign. We rely on trust. If you want me to sign, you have to pay me US$65 instead.” At this point, Pang decided to call the police. When a police officer arrived, the woman refused to be sent to the hospital. After an hour of argument, the woman pulled out her China tourist visa and begged for compensation. “I cannot go to the hospital! They will charge me US$400!” Pang said that he was softened by her tears and did not want to dwell on the issue any further so paid her the US$25 “compensation” and drove off.
“I checked very carefully and there was no chance I could have run anyone over! I found it odd that how did she manage to find so many people by just one phone call. She did not worry about whether she’s hurt and all she focused on was the compensation,” said Pang. “There are a few cases in Shum Shui Po these days too.” Chung, a tow truck operator, said “I saw it the other day on Pei Ho Street. A 30-40 year-old woman who speak Cantonese with heavy Chinese accent claimed that she was hit by a car. A few men almost instantly arrived demanding the driver to compensate. Thankfully, the driver installed a camera in his vehicle and said he has the evidence so will call the police to investigate. That’s when the gang fled.” There are many similar stories that have been circulated online these days. A man also got into the same con in Wan Chai around March this year.
Lai Ming-hung, chairman of Taxi and Mini-bus Drivers’ Rights Concern Group, said that this type of scam happens all the time. He said that the cons take advantage of the drivers’ “do not want to cause trouble” mind-set, and often target professional drivers, “Professional drivers who hire vehicles typically would agree with the vehicle owners that they will pay US$1,300 if they have any accident and need to claim insurance. Therefore, many drivers would just pay and let the cons get away with it.” Even if the police is involved, according to Lai, the cons can explain that it was a “misunderstanding”. Lai worries that given the con gangs moves around different districts, it is difficult for the police to solve these cases. He advised drivers to install cameras in their vehicles and inform other drivers about their encounter of the cons.
Chan Siu-wah, Deputy Chairman of Motor Transport Workers General Union, said that the union has discussed car accident scam problem with the government. It is understood that most of the cons involved are Chinese tourists and local drug addicts. When commenting about the car accident scams in Kowloon Tong, a police spokesperson said that given that the woman refused to be treated in the hospital and the driver and her settled the case themselves, there is no need for police involvement. The spokesperson also said that there is no statistics on car accident cons.