Harmonica Champion Loses HK$5.9m To Phone Scam

December 18, 2018 – A 24-year-old harmonica world champion has lost HK$5.9 million to a phone scam that should have been familiar to most Hong Kong residents by now.

Leo Ho Cheuk-yin, who became twice the Solo World Champion, at the World Harmonica Festival in 2009 and 2013, said on his Facebook page that he blames himself for falling for the scammers’ trap, but did not provide details of the incident.

Ho said he has been immersing himself in music for days and nights, without giving heed to the dangers and evils that lurk in the world.   But he said he has learned his lesson from the incident.

“The money was lost, but those who are important to me are supporting me. That’s the most fortunate thing of all,” Ho wrote.

A source said that Ho was in Wan Chai when he received a call from someone who claimed to be an Immigration Department officer.

The line was then transferred to another man who said he was from the Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai and accused Ho of committing an offense.

A third person who claimed to be a prosecutor in Shanghai called to ask Ho to transfer money to a mainland bank account to assist in the investigation.

Ho complied with the instructions and wired a total of HK$5.9 million to the designated account in more than 20 tranches from November to December.

Ho did not realize he had been swindled until Saturday night, when he decided to report the case to the police.  No one has been arrested so far, according to the police.

The tactic used on Ho was the same employed by scammers on countless victims and widely reported in the news media.   Police have also issued warnings about such phone scams, asking the public not to fall for them.