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Hacking the boss

Hackers defrauded a Hong Kong-based group for more than HK$450,000 after taking control of the company head’s email and making employees believe the group intended to purchase a company in the MSAR

A Hong Kong resident was arrested on September 9 at the Macau Ferry Terminal for suspected involvement in a hack that defrauded a Hong Kong-based company out of more than HK$450,000 (US$57,580), the Judiciary Police (PJ) told Business Daily yesterday.
According to local authorities, on December 28 of last year, a local resident working for an unidentified Hong Kong-based group informed the PJ that her colleagues from the group’s branch in the United Kingdom had received an email stating that the head office intended to acquire a company in Macau for HK$10 million.
Since the email from the head office was sent through the company head’s email address, the employees believed the request for the company purchase was authentic, proceeding with a transfer of HK$450,243 to a bank account in the MSAR.
Only after the transfer was effected did the company’s employees realise the email was fake, with the PJ stating that after investigations were conducted, the department now believes a criminal syndicate ‘hacked into the company’s email account, got to know its operation, and then sent out the fraudulent email’.
According to the PJ, the 32-year old man arrested at the Macau Ferry Terminal was a Hong Kong resident surnamed Wong, who is suspected of having opened a bank account under orders from a criminal syndicate, receiving HK$14,000 for doing so.
‘Whenever there was money deposited into the bank account, the suspect would withdraw it immediately and hand it over to the syndicate,’ the PJ told Business Daily.
Authorities also added that they will continue the investigation, in pursuit of the ‘mastermind’ and other members of the syndicate.