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Hong Kong Identity Crime Syndicate Arrests


Hong Kong identity crime syndicate arrests

Officers from the Australian Federal Police led multi-agency Identity Security Strike Teams (ISSTs) today arrested a 46-year-old man wanted in relation to a $1.38 million transnational fraud.

Officers executed a search warrant this morning at a Maroubra home in Sydney's east, arresting the man on a first instance warrant. The man faced a Sydney court this afternoon and has been bailed to appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court on 4 December.

Police will allege the man posed as the holder of a bank account and used a false identity to transfer $1.38 million to an account in Hong Kong. The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation by the ISST into an international crime syndicate.

A 35-year-old Chinese man was arrested on October 18 in Hong Kong on a charge of dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of indictable offence after he allegedly left Australia with more than $500,000 in cash.

Investigations then led to the arrest of a second man in Hong Kong and the arrest and charging of a man in Brisbane for opening and operating a false bank account.

Police will allege the syndicate targeted legitimate bank customers and used false identification to transfer significant sums of money overseas for the benefit of the syndicate members. More than $1 million in property and cash has been seized by Australian authorities and more than $1.1 million by Hong Kong authorities.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Peter Drennan said the arrests in Hong Kong and Australia were the result of a strong transnational approach by the ISSTs to the growing problem of identity crime.

"This investigation has focussed on the fraudulent transfer of large sums of money to overseas accounts facilitated by the manufacture and distribution of high quality counterfeit documents, including passports, bank credit cards and driver's licences," Assistant Commissioner Drennan said.

"This operation highlights the benefits of having multi agency ISSTs across the country collectively focussing on identity security issues," he said.

"They can draw together resources from different locations, both within Australia and offshore through the AFP's International Network, to achieve important operational outcomes."

ISSTs comprise joint Commonwealth and state agencies including the AFP, Australian Crime Commission, DIAC, Customs and state police.

ENDS

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