SCMP Friday, October 6, 2000

Credit-card factory raided


Police have uncovered a counterfeit credit-card factory in Lok Ma Chau and seized 381 fake cards that could have cost the industry up to $13.3 million.
Commercial Crime Bureau officers found the equipment at a house in Mai Po village on Wednesday morning.
They arrested a man, 31, and allegedly seized two counterfeit credit cards from him. A further 381 fake cards, 405 credit-card account information slips and manufacturing equipment, including a magnetic strip encoding machine, were seized inside.
Senior Superintendent Raymond Lau Chi-keung, of the Commercial Crime Bureau, said it was the second largest single source of bogus cards found. Last year about 600 fake cards were seized at another factory.
"The use of one fake credit card could cost the issuing bank at least US$2,500 (HK$19,500). So if all the seized cards were used on a spending spree, there is a potential for losses of up to $13.3 million for the industry," he said.
Mr Lau believed the factory had been operating for about three weeks and some fake cards could be already on the market.
He said the data of the 405 credit-card accounts were from Europe, Canada, the United States, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
"We believe each set of details were sold for around US$100 (HK$780) to the centre which manufactured the cards. Each fake card would be sold for HK$4,000 to buyers," Mr Lau said.
The suspect has been charged with possessing false instrument and possessing equipment for making a false instrument. He will appear in Eastern Court tomorrow.