The China Liaison Office has reported to the Western Police Station about phone call scams asking people to transfer money to an unknown bank account.

Dozens of people have called the liaison office to check after they had received suspicious phone calls or voice messages accusing them of “money laundering”, and asking them to transfer money to a bank account, according to local media.

The phone calls were from people who claimed to be Chinese officials working for the liaison office.

Hong Kong police have reportedly classified the case as “request for police investigation”.

The China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Photo: Apple Daily.

Pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that the large number of phone enquiries to the liaison office had interrupted its daily operations.

The China Liaison Office has clarified that neither the office nor mainland authorities are allowed to leave this type of voice message to Hong Kong residents.

A spokesperson for the liaison office said that using the office’s name to carry out fraudulent phone calls is a “despicable” act.

The spokesperson said that a common tactic of phone fraud is to ask people to ring a given phone number, at which a phoney officer of mainland authorities would claim that the individual is involved in an alleged crime such as money laundering. The “officer” may threaten to arrest or give jail time to the person, who would then be asked to wire money to a bank account.

Hong Kong police have asked the public to verify the caller’s identity even if the caller claims to represent the authorities, and to report immediately to the police in case of suspected phone fraud.

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Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.